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From Original MSS. 



Utque cruore suo, Gallos Dionysius ornat, 

Grsecos Demetrius, gloria quisque suis ; 
Sic nos Edmundus nulli virtute secundus 

Lux patet, et patrise gloria magna suae. 
Sceptra manum, diadema caput, sua purpura corpus 

Ornat ei, sed plus vincula, mucro, cruor. 

(Ex libra Abbatia de Rufford in Bibl. Colt). 


art anb Book Company 














THE materials for the following history have been 
collected during the past ten years, in intervals of 
leisure from busy work in monastery and college, 
and subsequently on the mission. This desultory 
method of storing and arranging material will account 
for many faults, which, it is feared, mar the work, 
but which, it is hoped, will meet with the reader's 
kind indulgence. 

The work is purposely entitled a History of th<: 
Life and Times of St. Edmund. A mere Life of the 
saint could be compressed into a few pages, but the 
mass of historical and traditional lore, which illustrates 
his character and position in the England of his day, 
calls for wider treatment. Hence the endeavour to 
interweave the history of East Anglia, the narrative 
of the Danish invasion and the customs of Saxon 
times, into the great martyr's biography. 

For centuries St. Edmund's incorrupt body exercised 
a living influence over the nation, and kept his per- 
sonality ever present. To end his history with his 


martyrdom would leave unrecorded this important 
place, which he occupied in the hearts of the faithful 
and in the annals of the country. Accordingly, the 
sacred body has been traced through the vicissitudes 
of a thousand years to its present resting-place, and 
his other relics enumerated and described. Distinct 
chapters treat of the miraculous power which the 
people believed him to wield, and of the devotion 
which his life and character inspired ; while a brief 
sketch of the magnificent memorial which rose over 
and around his shrine finishes the work. 

Parallel with this long and continuous history of 
the saint run the numerous and varied records, in 
medieval manuscript and modern print, which furnish 
the materials. To omit all description of these 
interesting documents and their authors would rob 
St. Edmund's history of one of its most beautiful 
features the tribute which literature has paid to him 
through the ages. Their introduction, however, re- 
mained a difficulty. They admitted of three methods 
of treatment (1) a mere enumeration in the preface, 
(2) a dry appendix, or (3) an account of each of them in 
turn with the chapter to which it related. Following 
at least two notable examples, l choice has been made 
of the third method, and in the Authorities at the 
head of each chapter the reader will find a concurrent 
history of the literature which perpetuated the name 

1 Butler's " Lives of the Saints," and Green's "Short History 
of the English People." 


and memory of the martyr king of East Anglia. 
St. Edmund's Bury has at last found a place in 
the Eolls Series, and the first volume of " Memorials of 
St. Edmund's Abbey" has recently seen the light. 1 
The editor, Mr. Thomas Arnold, M.A., in the intro- 
duction, p. xiii., thus compares St. Cuthbert and 
St. Edmund : " Although nearly two centuries divided 
the death of St. Edmund from that of St. Cuthbert, 
and there is no reason, except the common possession 
of sanctity and heroic endurance, for supposing any 
special resemblance in their characters, yet when we 
inquire into the development of the cultus which was 
consecrated to their memory, we are struck by some 
remarkable points of likeness. Of both the incorrup- 
tion of the mortal remains was confidently believed ; 
over the tombs of both arose, first chapels, then 
churches, then magnificent cathedrals. Eardulf the 
bishop, and Eadred the abbot, dreading a visit from 
the ruthless Northmen, took up the body of St. Cuth- 
bert from Lindisfarne in 875, and wandered about 
with it for seven years, settling at last at Chester-le- 
Street. Egelwin the priest, alarmed for the safety of 
the treasure of which he was the guardian, when 
Thurkill made a descent in the Orwell in 1010, took 
up the body of St. Edmund from its resting-place at 

1 "Memorials of St. Edmund's Abbey," edited by Thomas Arnold, 
M.A., University College, Oxford, Fellow of the Royal University 
of Ireland ; vol. I. Published by the authority of the Lords Com- 
missioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, under the direction of the 
Master of the Rolls, 1890. 


Beodricsworth, and wandering up to London, remained 
there three years, till the state of Suffolk was quiet 
enough to allow of his returning home. Miracles 
prevented St. Cuthbert's body from being carried over 
to Ireland; miracles prevented St. Edmund's body 
from becoming a prey to the pious cupidity of the 
Londoners. On the completion of Abbot Baldwin's 
new church at Bu,ry in 1095, there is a solemn 
translation of the body of St. Edmund to the shrine 
prepared for it, Bishop Wakeline, and Eanulf the 
king's chaplain, being the presiding functionaries. On 
the completion of Durham cathedral in 1104, there is 
a yet more solemn translation of the body of St. 
Cuthbert from the cemetery in the cloister into the 
church, the same Eanulf, now bishop of Durham, 
presiding, and the ceremony being crowned by a 
visitation of the relics, which verifies their reported 
incorruption. A similar visitation of the relics of St. 
Edmund, resulting in a similar verification, is made 
by Abbot Samson in 1198." 

Mr. Arnold is not so happy in his further remarks. 
We doubtless know a great deal more of St. Cuthbert's 
real life and character than of St. Edmund's, but it 
is an exaggeration to write that we know "next to 
nothing " of the latter. To assert that St. Abbo drew 
on a free and strong imagination for his description 
and character of St. Edmund is scarcely justifiable, 

considering that the martyr's person and exploits 
were well known in St. Abbo's day. The present 


writer has not started on the supposition that the 
greater part of the information regarding St. Edmund 
is myth, the concoction of men " whose information 
is scanty, and their imagination strong." Judging 
from references in existing manuscripts that the old 
scribes drew from sources long since perished, the 
compiler of these pages takes their works as a safe 
basis. He examines them fairly, tries to supply what 
is wanting from other sources, compares their facts 
with ancient and modern traditions, traces their 
agreement with the general history of the times, and 
thus endeavours to piece together the lost history of 
St. Edmund. It is not, however, maintained that no 
myth has grown around St. Edmund's name, or that 
in the course of a thousand years no legend has crept 
into his history, but abundant facts remain in con- 
nection with the saint's life which are credible and 
authentic. For instance, Ethelwerd and the Anglo- 
Saxon Chronicle refer to a king of East Anglia 
between St. Ethelbert and St. Edmund, and therefore 
support Gaufridus, who gives his name and the 
particulars of his reign. Gaufridus thus becomes a 
reliable authority on one point, and may be equally 
considered reliable in his account of the parentage 
and fatherland of St. Edmund, which fits in with 
Charlemagne's known protection of English exiles 
and other facts of contemporary history. The supposi- 
tion of Battely, that a certain Florentius invented the 
parentage of St. Edmund one or two centuries after 


Gaufridus, is baseless and far-fetched. North Ham- 
burg, not Nuremburg, as the place of St. Edmund's 
birth, and the local traditions of Hunstanton further 
fix the probability of the narrative of Gaufridus. 
The legend of Lothbroc or Lothparch has at least a 
substratum of truth. Mr. Sharon Turner's identifica- 
tion of the Lothbroc of St. Edmund's history with 
Kagnar Lodbrog, who, he says, met his death in 
Deira between 862 and 867, cannot be accepted in 
the face of all the Icelandic writers who assign his 
death to the eighth century and not the ninth. 1 On 
the other hand, Adam of Bremen's testimony, the 
local traditions of Reedham, Caistor-St.-Edmund's and 
its neighbourhood, Hinguar's avowed object to invade 
East Anglia (which is mentioned by all chroniclers), 
and the name of Bern or Wern in the list of the ten 
sea-kings establish the identity of Lothparch, and 
confirm all that Gaufridus relates. His manuscript 
is therefore an historical fragment of great value. 
Similar records supply evidence of a like character, 
which cannot reasonably be considered fictitious, 
merely on opinion of what should be. 

Two views of St. Edmund's martyrdom are current, 
but easily reconciled. The first represented by 
the Saxon Chronicle, Asser, Ethelwerd, Matthew of 
Westminster, and several of the St. Edmund's Bury 
annals states that Edmund fought bravely and 
manfully (" atrociter pugnavit.") According to the 

1 Introduction to " Memorials of St. Edmund's Abbey," vol. I. 
p. xix. 


second represented by St. Abbo, Florence and Mal- 
mesbury the saint, when attacked by the Danes, made 
no resistance. Each view is correct from its own 
standpoint. In one, St. Abbo and those who follow 
him aim at illustrating the meekness, self-sacrifice 
and resignation of the saint. They accordingly dwell 
chiefly on the martyrdom, and describe the Danes 
and their two invasions in general terms, 1 merely to 
contrast the pagan savagery with the Christian 
Edmund's gentleness. The various attacks and the 
consequent battles are foreign to their purpose and 
they ignore them. The second view is more historical. 
It pictures the invasion of East Anglia in 865 by 
Hinguar, and Edmund's valiant stand ; and the second 
invasion of 870, crowned by the final struggle, and 
the holy king's surrender of himself to the enemy in 
order to save his people from further bloodshed. 
Together, the two views give a perfect delineation of 
St. Edmund's character, which was one of heroic and 
unselfish bravery. 

In closing this introduction I desire to tender my 
heartfelt thanks to the numerous friends who have 
aided me in my work. I gratefully acknowledge the 
assistance of the late Father Lazenby, S.J., of Bury- 
St.-Edmund's, who encouraged me to write and placed 
his notes at my service, a kindness continued by his 
superiors after his death. The librarians at Oxford and 
Cambridge always showed courtesy and a willingness 

1 St. Abbo speaks of the two invasions as one. 


to 'inbgjBf, dae mo doaibt to aj 
Father Sfti !, &J. I 
atuiulBd e im LoaMls* by a 
I them Bade aad hare alvzr? Tklaed aiaee. M T 
peoal tfcaak are doe to Ac Eigfct Ber. Abfcot 
-Stiww, OJ>.BU, lor bis leiiaoai of BUT ana nil lifil. aad 
to odoeis wiwee ral^aMff- kiats will 2am for these 
pages aaj .sagcmi wtneai tkcj BT aVjuit^ 

Lastly. IB gmag the hnfeatr off St. Fi IBM ail to the 
pobfic, I belunktad eoadeaBaaad n.^i tedly 
eqaeaaoai or f4?i" > vhieh aaaj be 

- ., \-.\: ;._ : -' ::: : ; H ".-::-.-: ::.r .:! 1: 

19 r 


PREFACE . vii 



Introductory St. Edmund's Kingdom. Its Rulers and 

Saints 1 

Saint Edmund's Parentage and Birth ... .. 21 


King Offa of East Anglia. St. Edmund succeeds him. St 

Edmund is anointed and crowned ... . . . 34 

St Edmund's Sovereignty. His Character and Rule ... 69 

St. Edmund and the Danes ... 83 

The Struggle with the Norsemen 97 

St. Edmund's Passion 122 

Edmund the Saint, " Kynge, Martyre, and Virgyne " 132 



The Translations of St. Edmund's Body. The Witnesses of 

its Incorruption. The Martyr's Relics ... ... 141 

1. The Finding of the Martyr's Head and Body, and 
their Burial at Heglesdune (Hoxne) on Monday, 
December 30, A. D. 870 ... ... ... ... 141 

2. The First Translation of St. Edmund's Body to 
Beodricsworth (St. Edmund's Bury) by Bishop 
Theodred I., A.D. 903 ... ... ... ... 146 

3. Oswene, the First Witness of St. Edmund's In- 
corruption, before A.D. 925 ... ... ... 153 

4. Bishop Theodred II., called the Good, the Second 
Witness of St. Edmund's Incorruption, A.D. 945 
or 950 ... ... ... ... ... ... 154 

5. The Youth Leofstan, the Third Witness of St. 

Edmund's Incorruption, about A.D. 980 ... ... 158 

6. The Monk Ailwin, the Fourth Witness of St. 

Edmund's Incorruption, A.D. 990 to 1032. ... 160 

7. The Second Translation of St. Edmund's Body. 

It is taken to London, A.D. 1010 ... ... ... 164 

8. The Third Translation of St. Edmund's Body. It 
is taken back to Beodricsworth (St. Edmund's Bury), 
A.D. 1013 172 

9. The Fourth Translation of St. Edmund. His holy 
Body is moved to King Canute's new Church, 
Oct. 18, A.D. 1032 176 

10. Abbot Leofstan, the Fifth Witness of St. Edmund's 

Incorruption, A.D. 1050 ... ... ... ... 187 

11. The Fifth Translation by Abbot Baldwin, on 

Sunday, April 29, A.D. 1095 ... ... ... 191 

12. Tolinus the Sacrist, the Sixth Witness of St. 
Edmund's Incorruption, with three others, verifies 
the sacred Body in the reign of Abbot Baldwin, 
A.D. 10941095 ... ... ... ... 199 

13. The Sixth Translation of St. Edmund's Body, by 

Abbot Samson, Nov. 23, A.D. 1198 ... ... 205 

14. Abbot Samson, the Seventh Witness of St. Ed- 
mund's Incorruption, Nov. 26, A.D, 1198 .. ... 216 

15. The Seventh Translation of St. Edmund's Body 
to France, by Louis the Dauphin, Sept. 11, A.D. 
1217 ... ... ... ... ... ... 221 

16. The Eighth Translation of St. Edmund's Body to 

the Basilica of Saint Sernin, Toulouse, A.D. 1219 ... 228 


CHAP. IX. Continued. 

17. The Ninth Translation of St. Edmund's Body ... 239 
18. The Tenth Translation of St. Edmund's Body, by 

his Grace Charles de Montchal, Archbishop of 

Toulouse, A.D. 1644 ... ... ... ... 240 

;? 19. St. Edmund's Body and its present Resting-Place, 

A. D. 1644 to 1892 ... .. ... ... 250 

20. Minor Relics of St. Edmund in Ancient and 

Modern Times ... ... ... ... ... 255 

The Miracles of St. Edmund ... ... ... ... 270 

Devotion to St. Edmund ... ... ... ... 307 

St. Edmund's Patrimony ... ... ... ... 352 


St. Edmund ... ... ... ... ... Frontispiece. 

Map of East Anglia, &c. ... ... ... ... Page I 

Abbot Baldwin's great Church of St. Edmund, in the 

15th century ... ... ... ... ... 191 

The Basilica of Saint Sernin at Toulouse ... ... ... 228 

King Henry VI. at St. Edmund's Shrine (from Dom 
Lydgate's "Life and Acts of St. Edmund," 

Harleian MS. 2278) 307 

Ground Plan of St. Edmund's Abbey ... ... ... 352 

Seal of modern St. Edmund's ... 411 


O precious charbouncle of martir's alle, 
O hevenly gemme, saphir of stabilnesse, 

Thyn hevenly dewli of grace, let dou falle 
In to my penne, enclosed with rudnesse : 
And blissed martir, my stile do so dresse, 

Undir thi wingis of proteccion, 

That I nat erre in my translacion. 

O richest rube, rubefied with blood 
In thi passion, be ful meek suffrance 

Bound to a tre, lowly whan thou stood, 
Of arwes sharp suffryng ful gret penaunce, 
Stable as a wal, of herte in thi constannce, 

Directe my stile which I have undirtake 

In thi worshepe, thi legende for to make. 

O amatist, with peynes purpureat 
Emeraud trewe, of cliastite most clone, 

Which, nat withstandyng thi kyngli hih estat, 
Ffor Cristis feith suffredist peynes keene, 
Wherefore, of mercy, my dulnesse to susteene, 

Into my brest sende a confortatiff 

Of sum fair language t' embelisshe with thi liff. 

Send dou, of grace, thi licour aureat 

Which enlumynyth these rethoriciens 
To write of martirs, ther passions laureat : 

And causith also, these fressh musiciens, 

Ffals lust avoided of epicuriens, 
Of glorious seyntes the tryumphes for to synge 
That suffred peyne for Crist in ther levynge. 

Now glorious martir of Bury cheef patron, 

In Saxonie born, of the blood roial, 
Conveie my mater, be my proteccion, 

Githe in thi support myn hope abidith al, 

Directe my penne of that I write shal, 
Ffor so thi favour fro me nat ne twynne 
Upon thi story ryght thus I will be gynne. 

LYDGATE, (Harleian MS. 2278, fol. 9 b, 
collated with Harleian MS. 4826.) 


O precious charbouncle of martir's alle, 

O hevenly gemme, saphir of stabilnesse, 
Thyn hevenly dewh of grace, let dou falle 

Githe in thi support inyn hope abidith al, 
Directs my penne of that I write shal, 
Ffor so thi favour fro me nat ne twynne 
Upon thi story ryght thus I will be gynne. 

LYDGATE, (Harleian MS. 2278, fol. 9 b, 
collated with Harleian MS. 4826. ) 





Introductory St. Edmund's Kingdom Its Rulers and 

[AnthoritiesSt. Bede's "Ecclesiastical History" is the chief authority for 
the events of this chapter to the year 731. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 
William of Malmesbury's " History of the Kings " and " History of the 
Prelates," Ethelwerd's Chronicle, and similar annals supplement St. Bede's 
History. Nicholas Harpsfeld's " Historia Anglicana Ecclesiastica," Duaci, 
1622, and Blomefield's " History of Thetford," printed at Fersfield 
1739, are secondary though valuable authorities. For well known 
historical facts in this and the following chapters, only standard works 
like Lingard's "History of England," and Green's "Short History of the 
English People," have been referred to. For geography throughout the work 
consult Camden's "Britania," with McCullock's "Geographical Dictionary," 
or Bell's "Gazetteer of England and Wales."] 

THAT portion of England which bulges out into the Geographical 

position of 

German Ocean in the torm 01 a peninsula, and com- East Angiia. 
prises the present counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, and 
Cambridge, was called by the early Anglo-Saxons 
East Angiia or East England. The sea encompassed 
this district on the north and east. On the south 
the river Stour separated it from the neighbouring 
kingdom of Essex. Impassable woods, " deep lakes 
and stagnant pools," l protected its western frontier. 
The fens and marshes, two or three miles in breadth, 
which cover the flat lands of the west, stretch a 
distance of sixty or seventy miles from the Cam to 

1 William of Malmesbury. 


Wisbeach, and descend in river and morass to join 
the wide estuary of the Wash. These marshes, to- 
gether with the dense forests of the south-west 
totally secluded East Anglia from the mainland. 
One clear and open space alone connected the 
peninsula with the rest of the island, and this the 
East Anglians afterwards defended against the fre- 
quent incursions of their neighbours by four ditches 
with corresponding lofty walls of earth. The prin- 
cipal of these, called St. Edmund's ditch, runs across 
Newmarket Heath. The common people call it 
" Devil's Dyke," its gigantic proportions marking it 
out as the work of evil spirits rather than of men. l 
The dykes completed the boundaries of the province 
over which Providence destined St. Edmund to reign 
a man who, according to William of Malmesbury, was 
" devoted to God and ennobled by descent from 
ancient kings." 

st. Edmund's Previous to th e Cliristiaii era, St. Edmund's kingdom 
the 8 Britwu ei was inhabited by the Celtic tribe of Iceni, the Ceni- 
magni of Ciesar. Traces of the first inhabitants still 
survive in the names Ikensworth, Ickworth, Ick- 
borough, Iken. Icklingham, and lastly Ikenild Street, 
the great consular road of the Iceni. The last king of 
the Iceni was Prsesutagus, the consort of the famous 
British queen Boadicea, whose valiant resistance and 
tragic end finally brought East Britain under the 
sway of the Romans. 

1 It is doubtful who constructed these great walls. Some attri- 
bute them to Canute (A.D. 1017), who certainly made them the 
boundary of St. Edmund's Liberty. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 
mentions them as early as A. D. 905, and Matthew of Westminster 
makes them the site of a battle fought in that year between Edward 
the Elder and Ethelwald the Rebel. St. Abbo, who wrote thirty 
years before Canute's reign, also mentions the dykes. Most pro- 
Irably St. Edmund himself, whose names they bear, raised them as. 
a defence against the Mercians and Danes. 


The Eoman governor Agricola, in dividing Britain Under tte 


into provinces, made the territory of the Iceni part 
of Flavia Cresariensis. In a few years the consular 
roads Ikenild Street, Jeddar Way, Stone Way, Via 
Devana, and perhaps Ermine Street, linked it with 
the important cities of Bath, Chester, Verulam, York, 
and London, while its general fertility, its clear 
and bracing climate, its picturesque scenery and 
nearness to Gaul, its hunting-grounds and rich 
pastures, attracted thither every class of citizen. 
East Britain thus became a favourite field of 
Eoman civilization. Camp, station, and town, places 
like Brancaster, Sitomagus (Thetford), Caistor, Venta 
Icenorum (Norwich), Villa Eaustini (Bury - St. - 
Edmund's), soon sprang up on plain and river-side. 
Vestiges of Eoman art, Eornan remains unearthed 
from time to time all through the district, show 
that the ancient civilization worked as great a change 
in East Britain during its 300 years' occupation, as 
modern civilization has done in the same or shorter 
time in America and Australia. 

The Eoman province of Britain flourished till the 
middle of the fourth century, when it fell before the 
attacks of the barbarians. At first Eome attempted 
to defend its most western province. The Count of 
the Saxon Shore pitched one of his chief camps at 
Brancaster on the Wash, in order to guard the ex- 
posed coasts of East Britain and North Gaul. All 
precautions, however, proved ineffectual. The waves 
of barbarian invasion still came on, forcing the 
Eoman legions to retreat to the capital, and abandon 
Britain and all outlying provinces. The Britons with 
the Iceni thus found themselves utterly without 
resources to resist the savage hordes who poured 
from the northern mountains of the island upon their 
cities and plains. 


The helplessness of the Britons after the departure 
of the Eomans, together with the incursion of the 
Picts and Scots, conspired to bring about the forma- 
tion of St. Edmund's kingdom. At the time there 
dwelt among the marshes of Friesland and the Elbe, 
or in the peninsula which parts the Baltic from the 
North Sea, three kindred tribes of low-German Teu- 
tonic race. The first tribe, the Jutes, lived on the 
north of the peninsula, on the dry and sandy heaths 
of Jutland, called in early times Zealand, because of 
the purple waters which fringed the green meadows 
of its coast ; to the south of the Jutes, in the rich 
farm-lands of Sleswig, or Angleland, as the great 
Alfred delighted to call it, the Angles had settled 
down ; further south again, amid the sand-flats and 
fen-lands of the Weser and the Elbe, and on the 
very borders of the Eoman empire, hovered the Saxons, 
the only name by which southern Europe knew 
the other two tribes. All three, Jutes, Angles, and 
Saxons, practised piracy on the high seas. In war- 
ships, contemptuously named cliiules, or keels, they rode 
the wildest billows of the ocean, " in tempests dread- 
ful to others, but to them a subject of joy." They 
were thus scouring the North Sea when the Eomans 
abandoned Britain, and the Picts and Scots swarmed 
down from the wilds of Caledonia. To invite them to 
land and give assistance in repelling the invaders 
from the north was the last despairing policy of the 
British chiefs, who little thought of the consequence 
of admitting the sea-pirates into the island. The new 
allies quickly drove Pict and Scot back to their 
mountain-fastnesses, and at once began a war of 
conquest and extermination unparalleled in the bar- 
barian invasion of any other country of Europe. Every 
vestige of Eoman civilization in Britain vanished 
before the sword of Angle, Jute, and Saxon. Towns 


and villages, palaces and cottages, were levelled to 
the ground. The inhabitants fled as from a devour- 
ing conflagration ; the nobles made their escape to 
the continent or the western hills ; the common 
people took refuge in the churches ; but the enemy 
set fire to the holiest sanctuaries, and the victim who 
escaped the sword perished by the flames. In a 
hundred years -the old race had entirely disappeared 
before the conquerors' advance. 

The Jutes first began the conquest under Hengist |^ a a ^ d n f f 
and Horsa, who founded the kingdom of Kent. Then Sngdoms. 
other bands, eager for plunder, put to sea from their 
German homes. The Saxons (A.D. 477) under ^lla 
and his three sons coasted along the hills and dark 
woodlands from Beachy Head to Selsey Bill, disem- 
barked, and after a fierce struggle with the natives 
founded the kingdom of the Suth-Seaxe, or Sussex. 
Five years later the war-ships of Cerdic ploughed 
the Channel waters as far as the Isle of Wight. 
Their crews landed at Portsmouth, took possession 
of the neighbouring country, and founded the kingdom 
of West-Seaxe, or Wessex. Before Wessex extended 
its conquests to Oxford and Gloucester, the Middle- 
Seaxe and East-Seaxe crept up the Thames, and 
on its northern bank established the kingdom of Essex. 

The advance of Jutes and Saxons, however, is of The formation 

of the English 

minor importance compared with the later advance Kingdoms, 
of the Angles, " the fiercest in battle of all the bar- 
barians." Owing to the superior prowess of these 
Angles, the three tribes assumed the common name 
of " English." By that name they were first known 
to the Britons, and fifty years later to Pope St. 
Gregory, 1 when he met their slaves exposed for sale 
in the Eoman market-place. 

1 St. Gregory in his letters styles them the "gens Anglorum," 
"the English people." 


The Angles put to sea from the original Angleland, 
when the conquest of South Britain had almost ceased. 
A fleet of their chiules, under the command of Seomel, 
sailed up the Humber, took York, and founded the 
kingdom of Deira. Ida, another chief, with forty of 
the rude war-ships of his race, followed in the 
wake of Seomel, and founded, north of the Tees, the 
kingdom of Bernicia. Bernicia and Deira with the 
Frith of Forth as their northernmost boundary formed, 
in after times, the single kingdom of Northumbria. 
Up the southern tributaries of the Humber, the 
water gateway of North Britain, other " wolves, dogs, 
whelps from the kennel of barbarism," as St. Gildas 
from his abbey in Brittany styled them, penetrated 
into the heart of the island. They sailed up the 
Trent, took possession of Nottinghamshire, and, striking 
off along the Soar, colonized Leicestershire. Thus by 
degrees the whole district of central England grew 
into the kingdom of Mercia, so named either from 
the marshes of Lincolnshire on its borders, or from 
the marks or boundaries which on every side defined 
its frontier. 
The formation The first of these English conquests and the one 

of East Anglia. , . 

which mostly concerns this history was on the east 
of Mercia. It was preeminently Anglia, or England. 
Eull twenty years before Ida and Seomel overran 
Northumbria, and three score years before Mercia 
became a kingdom, the East Angles drew up their 
long keels on the wide sand-flats of the coast of 
the Iceni, or left them secure in its numerous river 
creeks. The eastern coast, on which the pirates first 
landed, presented no high and rugged cliffs or walls 
of rock, like Bamborough or Beachy Head. On the 
contrary, its numerous estuaries, the many navigable 
streams which flowed through the broads and sand- 
banks, rather invited than opposed invasion. The 


Angles accordingly ascended the Stour, and, leaving 
their kinsmen in Essex undisturbed, spread them- 
selves over the land to the north. Some rowed up the 
picturesque and wood-flanked Orwell ; others swarmed 
up the Yare, the "Waveney, and the Ouse. Once in 
the country, the Roman highways led them to spacious 
cities and to rich fields for plunder. Xo record is left 
of the struggle with the inhabitants. Many fled, while 
others were either massacred or died in slavery. 
Hardly a trace of them remained to guide the new 
nation, whose history now began where theirs had 

The land thus roughly seized did not differ consider- physical 

description of 

ably from the old country which the English had East Angiia. 
just abandoned. In area both districts measured about 
5,000 square miles ; both were from 70 to 80 miles in 
length and breadth. They also resembled each other 
in natural features. Even now the two countries are 
wonderfully alike. The snug and homely farm-houses 
of Sleswig, the hedgerows, the cattle quietly feeding 
in the meadows, carry us in imagination to the east 
of England. The low sea-coast of Yarmouth, the 
level fen-lands of Xorth Cambridgeshire, the salt 
marshes of the Lincolnshire border, the scarcity of 
wood, the general flatness, with only slight undulations 
here and there, the sloping grass-land on the banks 
of the Waveney, all have their counterpart in the 
old home of the East English. The new conquest 
possessed other advantages of which the wild half- 
cultivated fatherland could not boast. Roman art 
had transformed into a paradise a land by nature 
similar to their own, by laying it out in gardens and 
groves and pastures and hunting-grounds ; Roman 
engineers had linked together its numerous towns 
and villas by a network of magnificent roads, unsur- 
passed save by our modern railways. Finally, a dry 


and salubrious climate added its attractions. True, 
the east winds were sharp and keen in winter and 
spring, but the air which blew over the land from 
the sea, unimpeded by mountain or wood, was clear 
and bracing. It suited the temper of the invaders, 
and doubtless aided in forming those " merry, pleasant, 
jovial " East Anglians of William of Malmesbury's 
Chronicle, who gloried in being St. Edmund's subjects. 
estabHsiied'in ^ n ^ ie coun try whose early history and natural 
East Angiia. features are thus faintly outlined, the Angles settled 
down, family by family, kinsfolk by kinsfolk, in their 
" ham," or " ton," or " wick." Each freeman had his 
freeland ; each settlement of freemen had its wise 
men or eldermen, who administered justice and framed 
laws under the sacred tree, or on the moot-hill the 
original of our modern market-place, round which 
home and farm clustered. So far in habits of life 
and government the invaders preserved their primi- 
tive traditions. Fresh circumstances, however, begot 
fresh requirements. The friendly feeling between 
kindred and kindred which existed on the shores of 
the Baltic made war almost unknown there. Captains 
or chiefs were seldom necessary. In time of danger, 
indeed, the Angles would choose a leader to marshal 
them for battle ; but, the danger over, he stepped 
back into the rank and file. Now things were different: 
the Britons hovered on their borders ; the limits of 
the neighbouring kingdoms were undefined ; invasion 
or war frequently threatened them. Under these cir- 
cumstances a permanent chief became a necessity. 
The division of plunder, too, and the partition of land 
called for a supreme and stable ruler. Wessex in 
similar difficulties elected Cerdic its konniny, can-niny, 
or ableman ; Kent chose Hengist. In imitation of 
these the North Folk and South Folk of East Angiia 


chose Uffa as king, and their sovereigns down to St. 
Edmund's time they styled Uffings. 

All our chroniclers agree that St. Edmund sprang ^'a^ 1 ^' 1 ' 
from the "ancient and noble stock" of the Uffings. 
Something in those bold leaders and their dauntless 
followers gave early promise of the martyr king who 
closed their illustrious line. They all possessed natural 
virtues of no mean order. Eespect for authority, 
reverence for purity, bravery and fearlessness in war, 
boldness in the cause of right, frankness and love of 
truth were their distinguishing characteristics. Quali- 
ties like these, guided and perfected by the faith of 
Christ, produced the saintly and heroic kings whom 
history presents to us as the worthy progenitors of 
St. Edmund, their crowning glory, as he was the 
fairest blossom of their stock and the fulfilment of 
all their promise. The grace of God, it is true, ener- 
gised his own individual labour, and primarily made 
Edmund a saint ; but in the order of nature the 
traditions of his house had a share in moulding his 
character. The example of his ancestors stimulated 
him ; he emulated their virtues ; he modelled himself 
on them as on men renowned throughout the Churches. 
This will be made evident by a glance at those 
ancestral portraits which the youthful Edmund always 
had before his eyes. 

During the reigns of King Uffa and of Tytil, his st. Edmund': 


son and successor, no wave of that Christian teaching 
which formed the future saints of their line reached 
the shores of East England. Even Eedwald, the third 
Uffing, can scarcely be regarded as a Christian king. 
Policy rather than conviction actuated his religion. 
He accepted the baptism of the black-robed strangers 
at Canterbury merely to please Ethelbert, his over- 
lord, to whom Pope St. Gregory wrote : " Hasten to 
infuse into the minds of the kings subject to you 


the knowledge of one God, Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost." Eedwald while in Kent assisted at the 
solemn sacrifice, and listened to the religious chant 
of the Roman monks, but on returning home " he 
departed from the sincerity of the faith," writes 
Venerable Bede, " and, like the ancient Samaritans, 
seemed at the same time to serve Christ and the 
gods whom he had served before ; for in the same 
temple he had an altar to sacrifice to Christ, and 
another small one to offer victims to the devils." 
Accordingly, when he became bretwalda or overlord 
by the defeat of Ethelfrid of Xorthumbria, the cross 
gained no victory. Redwald's sons, however, were of 
a different stamp. The eldest, Regnhere, fell in battle 
a devoted follower of the cross. St. Eorpwald the 
Martyr, 1 another son, was a disciple of St. Paulinus 
of York. He embraced the faith of Christ in the 
court of Edwin of Northumbria, a king who owed 
his crown to Redwald, and on returning home and 
succeeding his father began the conversion of his 
people with all the ardour of a neophyte. But a 
pagan revolt stopped his work, and Eorpwald, stabbed 
by a hired ruffian named Richbert, " poured out his 
immaculate spirit to God " a Christian martyr. 
.st. sigebcrt His half-brother St Sigebert next ascended the 

the Learned, 

A. P. fiso. throne. St. Sigebert was the apostle, the teacher, the 

father of his people. During the three years' anarchy 
which followed his brother's murder, he lived in exile 
in Burgundy. There he received fuller instruction in 
the Catholic faith at the feet of the then successor of 
St. Germanus of Auxerre, and was baptized. With 
the faith he drank in all the secular knowledge which 

1 Also spelt Earpwald and Eorpemvcdd. See Butler's ' ' Lives of 
the Saints," Oct. 4. Between Redwald and Eorpwald Matthew of 
Westminster places Wibert. See his list of early E. Anglian kings 
and his manner of spelling their names (Bohn's edit. vol. i. p. 433). 


the cloisters of Burgundy could provide. An accom- 
plished scholar, a brave soldier, an earnest yet prudent 
son of the Church, Sigebert, succeeded to the crown, 
thoroughly fitted for the work of converting and 
civilizing his kingdom. 

He commenced his reign by inviting St. Felix, whom ^ 
he had met in Burgundy, to preach the faith to his An 8 ]ia - 
subjects. l Felix received episcopal consecration from 
St. Honorius, archbishop of Canterbury, and fixed 
his see at Dunwich, 2 then a place of great importance. 
With his aid the work of conversion advanced with 
rapid strides. Sigebert was even enabled with teachers 
from Canterbury to establish the schools on the Cam 
which Henry III. afterwards raised to the dignity of 
a university. 

1 St. Felix, O.S.B., the apostle of East Anglia, landed at 
Babingley in Norfolk about A.D. 630, where he is said to have built 
his first church. Thoke, the great lord of these parts when St. 
Felix came to convert the East Angles, embraced Christianity 
and built the second church at Shernborne, and dedicated it 
to SS. Peter and Paul. Of Babingley succeeding ages made St. 
Felix the patron. The memory of St. Felix and his mission still 
lingers about East Anglia. On the mountains of the Christian 
Hills he is said to have preached. Flitcham, the ham or dwelling 
of Felix, Flixton, Felixstow, Felixston, and many other places in 
Norfolk and Suffolk were named after him, their first bishop. 
His feast is kept by the English Benedictines on March 8. 
See Montalembert's " Moines d'Occident," vol. iv. chap. iii. ; 
also " Historia Eliensis," published by the Anglia Christiana 

2 Dunwich was a place of importance among the Komans, and 
immense quantities of bronze antiquities belonging to that people 
have been and are still washed out of the cliffs by the ever 
encroaching sea. At the time of St. Felix it was thoroughly 
fortified, but not strong enough to resist the inroads of the ocean, 
and now ships can float over the site once occupied by the city. 
The royal forest, which extended for miles south-east of the town, 
has been quite submerged ; and so the episcopal city, for 270 years 
crowded with hospitals, monasteries and churches, is now only 
a fishing village with a population of 250 souls. 


st. Fursey. Especially to this holy and learned king East 
England owed its monasticism. He welcomed to 
his realm the Irish monk St. Fursey and his com- 
panions, l and built for them to the glory of God, 
under the invocation of the Apostles SS. Peter and 
Paul, the monastery and church of Cnobbersburg. 2 
Venerable Bede describes this h'rst monastery of 
East Anglia as standing on the summit of a hill 
overlooking on three sides the dark forests of the 
interior and on the fourth the broad expanse of 
water formed by the junction of the Waveney and 
Yare. On this Mount Thabor, the Irish monks tarried 
awhile, it is said, at the command of an angel. To 
join in their chant or holy conversation, St. Sigebert 
would often steal away from the gaiety of the court. 
He delighted to sit, a privileged disciple, at the feet 
of Abbot Fursey and listen to his narrative of visions 
as sublime and awful as those which Dante has 

1 St. Fursey was the son of an Irish king and abbot of an Irish 
monastery. With his brothers Ultan and St. Foilan, and the 
Irish priests Gobban and Dicuil, he left Ireland and established 
monastic life in East Anglia, where he adopted tho Benedictine 
rule of his bishop, as well as the Roman observance of Easter. 
His fervent preaching and heroic virtues did much to convert the 
people and to strengthen them in the faith. In fact, Baronius 
("Annals," viii. 313) attributes the conversion of East Angli.-i 
chiefly to these Irish saints. It is recorded that St. Fursey 
established various double monasteries (Mabillon, "Acta SS.," 
vol. ii). Afer twelve years' sojourn in East Anglia, leaving St. 
Foilan to govern the monasteries he had founded there, St. Fursey 
followed his other brother Ultan to France, where he built the 
great monastery of Latiniac near Paris. As vicar general he 
governed the diocese of Paris for many years, and died at Froheins 
(Fursei Damns), in the diocese of Amiens, while superintending 
the building of Peronne Abbey. His feast is kept in the north of 
France on Jan. 16. See Montalembert's "Monks of the West," 
and Cardinal Moran's " Irish Saints in Great Britain." 

2 Cnobbersburg, formerly a Roman camp, now Burgh Castle, or, 
according to some, Blythburgh. 


immortalized. For St. Fursey had been caught up into 
heaven and seen " the choirs of angels, and heard the 
praises which they sing ; " endowed with angelic 
vision, he had looked down upon the earth and 
watched the struggle of good and evil in the world ; 
his miraculously gifted eyes had pierced the dark 
abyss and gazed into " the fire which burns those 
whose works and desires have been evil ; " the record- 
ing angel's book even had been opened to him, and 
in it he had read the judgments of the Son of God 
on men. Touched by the burning words of this man 
of God, the king resolved to resign his kingdom and 
spend the rest of his life in contemplation of the 
world to come. For this purpose he built a monastery 
in honour of the ever Virgin Mother of God on a 
certain gentle slope looking towards the east, and 
washed by the little streams Linnet and Larke, a 
hallowed spot, destined in after days to be the resting 
place of St. Edmund's body and the site of his vast 
and magnificent abbey-shrine. Here King Sigebert 
sought his long-wished-for solitude ; here he unbuckled 
his sword, put off his royal insignia, and donned the 
black monastic cowl ; his crown he laid upon the altar 
wearing in its place round his shaven head a simple 
rim of hair, to remind him of his Saviour's diadem 
of thorns and of the imperishable crown laid up for 
him by the just Judge. Then he took his place in 
the lowest stall in the monastic choir, the first of the 
long list of Anglo-Saxon princes who forsook the 
palace for the cloister. Short had been his reign, but 
great his work. Everywhere he left memorials of 
his practical wisdom and goodness. Under his rule 
pagan and barbarian East Anglia passed away ; in 
its place arose a Christian commonwealth with bishops, 
priests and faithful people, and churches, monasteries 
and schools. 


Sigebert was not allowed, however, to breathe his 

last in the retirement of the sanctuary. A terrible 

enemy of the cross threatened his kingdom and his 

work in the person of Penda, king of Mercia, a sworn 

champion of the old heathen worship. Penda would 

permit no Christian teacher to enter his dominions with 

impunity, and, if a neighbouring prince received the 

faith of Christ, he considered it as a challenge of his 

policy and a declaration of war. Accordingly, when 

Edwin of Nortlmmbria embraced the faith, Penda 

attacked him and slew him in the fight of Hatfield 

Chase. The progress of the faith now brought this 

upholder of paganism into East Anglia at the head 

of an army of Mercians and Britons. Egric, the 

successor of St. Sigebert, prepared to take the field 

against him, but his soldiers, mindful of the courage 

and experience of their former sovereign, dragged 

Sigebert from his cell and put him at their head. The 

saint, faithful to his profession, refused to unsheath 

the sword or wield the battle-axe, and he entered the 

battle-field with no weapon save a small wand. Thus 

armed, he was slain with King Egric at the head of 

the Christian army. 

King st. Annas, St. Annas, son of Eni, Bedwalcl's brother, at once 

A.n. 040. 

took up the reins of government. He worthily filled 
the throne of St. Eorpwald and St. Sigebert, endea- 
vouring with Bishop Felix and Abbot Fursey to 
consolidate what his predecessors had begun. In spite 
of nineteen years of almost perpetual war with Penda, 
Annas succeeded in raising fresh monasteries, em- 
bellishing the old ones with more stately buildings 
and enriching all with valuable treasures of books 
and vestments. Annas' influence spread beyond his 
own kingdom : his court became the refuge of Penda's 
victims, and there princes like Coinwalch, king of 


Wessex, flying from the Mercian tyrant's vengeance, 
received the faith of Christ, 

From around St. Annas' throne shines out a galaxy 
of saintly children. l His queen, the holy Hereswide, 
sister of St. Hilda, the celebrated abbess of Whitby, 
bore him St. Sexberga, who, married to Erconbert of 
Kent, became the mother of St. Ermenhilda and St. 
Earcongota, and the grandmother of St. Werberga, the 
patroness of Chester. St. Ethelberga, 2 abbess of Fare- 
moutier, 3 and St. Etheldreda, the foundress of Ely, were 
the first and third daughters of St. Annas. Both are 

St. Annas=St. Hereswide (sister of St Hilda). 

St. Ethelberga, St. Sexberga, St. Etheldreda, St. Withberga, Aldulph, Sethrida, 
the Incorrupt, queen of Krconbert or Audry, the the Incorrupt, king of East abbess of 
abbess of Fare- of Kent,foundressof Incorrupt, married of Ely, foun- Anglia A.D.6C8- Faremou- 
moutier iu Slieppy & 2nd to Earl Tombert 4 dress & abbess 713. tier. 

France. abbess o 

f Ely. then to King Egfrid of Derelmin in 
of Northumbria, Norfolk, 
foundress of Ely, A.D. 679. 

St. Ermenhilda, 
queen of Mercia, 
3rd abbesa of Ely. 

St. Earcongota. 

St. Ethelberga and 
Withberga, abbesses of al) 

bess of Repton, 
1 afterwards of 
ickness, a friend 
of St.Guthlac. 

1 1 iiacKness, a lounaauon an 
St. Werberga, Ceonred, of St. Hilda, their great-uuut. H 
abbess of Weedon, king A. D. 704, 
patroness of Chester. monk at Rome 
A.D. 709. 

Some authors (compare Butler, April 30, Wharton's " Hist. Epis. 
Lond.," Capgrave, April 30, and Leland's "Itinerary," vol. viii. 
p. 72.) make St. Annas the father of St. Erconwald, the founder 
of Chertsey Abbey and bishop of London, and of St. Ethelberga, 
his sister, the first abbess of Barking. The confusion arises from 
not distinguishing St. Ethelberga daughter of St. Annas from 
St. Ethelberga sister of St. Erconwald. Erconwald and his sister 
were children of Offa, king of the East Saxons, sometimes 
incorrectly called East Anglia, or the country of the East Angles, 
even by ancient authors. 

2 Called in French St. Aubierge. St. Bede styles her the 
natural daughter of St. Annas, which in his time had not the 
present meaning, but was used in opposition to his adopted child, 
Sethrida, of whom St. Bede is also speaking. Montalembert 
seems to have forgotten this fact. 

3 Founded by St. Fara, A.D. 616. There being few abbeys in 
England at this period, many noble virgins entered the monas- 
teries in Gaul, especially Faremoutier, Chelles and Andelys. 


celebrated for their unblemished chastity, and their 
bodies remained incorrupt after death, the one in 
England and the other in France. St. Withberga, the 
youngest virgin -daughter of this extraordinarily holy 
family, founded Dereham in Norfolk, over which she 
presided as abbess for many years. Aldulph, Annas' 
only son, showed himself little inferior in holiness to 
his devout sisters. The worthy father of three abbesses, 
his contemporaries recognised in him the virtues of 
a truly Christian prince. 

St. Annas closed an honourable reign by a martyr's 
death. With his brother, St. Firminus, l he fell in a 
last struggle with the heathen Penda (A.D. 654), and his 
subjects buried him in the priory, now an ivy-covered 
ruin, at Blythburgh. His tomb is still pointed out in 
the north aisle of the neighbouring church of Broad. 
Ktheihere. Etlielliere, the successor of Annas, for a moment 

broke the tradition of loyalty to the cross and holiness 
of life so remarkable in the royal line of East Anglia. 
He made a league with Penda, and fell in battle 
with him and thirty other royal princes on the field 
of Winwoed, near Leeds. In that battle King Oswy 
terribly avenged the death of his brother, St. Oswald, 
and the death of St. Sigebert, St. Annas, Edwin and 
Egric, all kings sacrificed to the pagan gods by the 
Mercian sword. 2 After the fall of Ethelhere his 
brother Ethelward reigned nine years. Ethelward 

Ethel ward. J 

saw the old heathenism pass away for ever, and left 
the throne to King Aldulph, when the triumph of 
the cross was complete. 

1 St. Firminus, whose shrine together with that of St. Botulph 
stood attendant on the shrine of St. Edmund, was a brother of 
St. Annas, and not a son, as some state. 
- "At the Win wed was avenged the slaughter of Annas, 
The slaughter of the kings Sigebert and Egric, 
The slaughter of the kings Oswald and Edwin." 

Henry of Huntingdon (Bohn's edition, p. 57). 


Few rulers in Saxon times stand out more gloriously Kin 
from among the Christian kings of their age than 
Aldulph. In his childhood he had seen the broken idols 
which once stood side by side with the Christian altar, 
but after his nineteen years of vigorous rule no vestige 
of Woden or Thor existed in the land. Over the dust 
and ruins of crumbled paganism he raised innumerable 
churches and religious houses. Ely Abbey especially 
owed some of its splendours to him. He directed the 
workmen in the building of that stateliest monastery 
of his realm, and, when the minster was reared, he 
welcomed to its cloisters his sister St. Etheldreda. 
On another solemn occasion the old chroniclers picture 
him at the abbey gates in company with King 
Wulphere of Mercia, King Egbright of Kent and a 
crowd of noble followers, taking part in the dedication 
to God's service of his niece St. Werberga. So well 
known were Aldulph's piety and devotion to the Church, 
that the prelates of the time elected to meet in council 
in his territory rather than in any other. According to 
some writers, St. Theodore of Canterbury held his 
famous synod for the canonical organization of the Eng- 
lish Church, not at Hertford, but at Aldulph's royal city 
of Thetford. l At that important council, Bisus, then 
bishop of the Angles, took his rank first after the arch- 
bishop. Among other business St. Theodore's synod 
divided East Anglia into two sees, fixing the second 
at North Elmham, and leaving the aged Bisus to preside 
over the older see of Dunwich. 2 Aldulph, after seeing 

1 See Blomefield's "History of Thetford," p. 24, where the 
question is discussed. 

2 The early bishops of East Anglia. The first episcopal 
see for the kingdom of East Anglia was placed at Dunwich in 
Suffolk on the consecration of 

ST. FELIX, the first bishop about A.D. 630. 
THOMAS, who had served as deacon to St. Felix, succeeded in 653. 
Malmesbury writes of him ex Girviorum provincia oriundus. 



his kingdom politically and ecclesiastically organised, 

passed to his reward. Of his two immediate successors, 

Eifwoidand Elfwold and Bernred, the scanty records of the time 

Bernred. J 

give little more than the names. The next king, the 
Etheired. good and virtuous Ethelred, is principally remarkable 
for his long and peaceful reign of fifty years (A.D. 748). 
His son, St. Ethelbert the Martyr, succeeded. 
st. Ethelbert Medieval chroniclers bestow unstinted praise upon 
792. ' ' the young and accomplished Ethelbert, a king amiable 

in disposition, handsome in countenance, graceful in 
body, prudent in mind. As a child this holy prince 
loved the monks' chant in choir more than the games 
of boyhood ; unlike other sons of kings, he delighted 
not in the glitter and dissipation of the court, but pre- 
ferred to minister to the sick and feeble, to relieve 
the poor with alms, to retire and converse with God 
and His saints in prayer. In him as a sovereign, 
mercy and justice met. One saying of his especially 
reveals the secret of his amiable character. "The 
higher our rank," he would remind his attendants, 
" the more gentle and lowly should be our bearing." 
No wonder this pious disposition led him to prefer 
a life of perpetual chastity. His wise men, however, 
hoped by his marriage to secure an heir to the throne 
and thus preserve the tranquillity of the kingdom. 
Accordingly, at their entreaty, in the forty-fourth year 
of his reign, Ethelbert set out for the court of Off a 
of Mercia to seek the hand of that sovereign's daughter 
Alfrida. 1 On arriving with his retinue on the frontiers 

BONIFACE, the next bishop, died in 669. He is called Bertgus 
in Cott. MS. Vesp. B. 6, and Beortgils in MS. Tiber B. 5. 

Bisus, Bisi, or BOSA was the next bishop. About the year 673, 
as stated in the text, his diocese was divided into two, at 
the national council held by Archbishop Theodore at Hert- 
ford. One see continued at Dunwich, the other was fixed at 
North Elmham in Norfolk. 

1 Called also Etheldreda. 


of Mercia, he sent before him presents and letters to 
announce the object of his visit. Offa received his 
overtures with favour, invited the East Anglian prince 
to the palace of Sutton Wallis, four miles from 
the present city of Hereford, and there entertained 
him with great show of pomp and ceremony. The 
day's rejoicing over, attendants conducted the royal 
guest to his bed-chamber, but not to rest. As he 
knelt in prayer commending himself to his heavenly 
Father's keeping, Wimbert, a court official, summoned 
him to a conference with Offa. While the unsus- 
pecting stranger made his way through the dungeon- 
like passages of the castle to his host's presence, a 
band of hired assassins suddenly rushed out and 
stabbed him to death. At the news of their sovereign's 
murder, horror and dismay seized upon his attendants 
They mounted their horses and fled. Offa on his side 
pretended to bewail his royal brother's death, but his 
immediate seizure of Ethelbert's kingdom branded 
him with the crime. On him and his God avenged 
the death of His saint. Offa died within two years, 
and the torrent of the river Ouse at Bedford, in a 
strange and unaccountable rising, unearthed and swept 
away his corpse ; his sons died without issue ; his 
daughters became widows and beggars ; and his queen, 
at whose door history chiefly lays the murder of 
Ethelbert, met a most miserable death three months 
after her crime. A few years after St. Ethelbert's 
martyrdom, the race of Offa had passed away for ever, 
and East Anglia, which he had so forcibly possessed, 
became the tomb of each successive Mercian sovereign 
who claimed dominion over it. 

At first the faithful secretly buried St. Ethelbert's The sin-ine of 
body not far from the scene of his martyrdom, in the 
village of Harden, on the river Lugg, where a miracu- 
lous well still marks its first resting-place. Later on, 


as the saint's tomb became famous for the number 
of cures wrought at it, the clergy and faithful trans- 
lated the sacred body to a church at Fernby, or Fern 
Heath, which in course of time developed into the 
cathedral of Hereford. 

Offa Meanwhile the East Anglians, at first scattered and 

disorganised, quickly rallied again, and chose for their 
leader a prince of the royal line named Offa, a name- 
sake of their Mercian persecutor. This Offa was the 
immediate predecessor of St. .Edmund. 

King Edmund. Such is the noble .and illustrious line of kings who 
lead up to St. Edmund. As his ancestors and pre- 
decessors, they form a brilliant background to the 
royal martyr, who stands out among them as the 
most striking figure in the picture. For St. Edmund 
embodies in himself all the characteristics of the East 
Anglian dynasty : like Uffa and liedwald, he was a 
fearless warrior ; like St. Sigebert, a patron of learning 
and of the Church ; like St. Annas, a defender of his 
kingdom and subjects; like St. Ethelberga, St. Ethel- 
dreda, and St. Withberga, a lover of virginity ; like 
St. Eorpwald and St. Ethelbert, a martyr. The ancient 
antiphon composed in his honour saluted him as king, 
warrior of Christ, white lily of virginity, red rose of 
martyrdom. "Hail, king of the Angles," it ran, "soldier 
of the King of angels, Edmund, the flower of martyrs, 
resembling both the rose and the lily, pray to the Lord 
for the salvation of the faithful." 


Saint Edmund's Parentage and Birth. 

\Aitthorlties Gaufridus de Foiitibus' " De Infantia Sti. Edinundi " holds the 
lirst and foremost place among the authorities for the events of this 
chapter. A loth ceiituvy copy of this work exists in Bibl. Pub. Cantab., 
Ff. 1.27, '29, p. 628-624, which Thomas Arnold, M.A., has recently edited for 
the Master of the Ro Is in his " Memorials of St. Edmund's Abbey," vol. i. 
Hardy conjectures that Gaufridus was identical with Godefridus de Foiitibus, 
a Franciscan friar and guardian of a convent of his order in Paris, who 
died Bishop of Cambrai in 1238. This, however, is impossible, since 
Gaufridus dedicates his work to the noble Lord Abbot Ording, who ruled 
St. Edinundsbury from 1148 to 115(3, thirty years before St. Francis of 
Assisium was born. According to Arnold, he " belonged to the house of 
regular canons in the patronage of St. Edmund at Thetford." More probably 
he was a monk of St. Edinundsbury, afterwards bishop of Ely, the same who 
graced by his presence the translation of St. Frideswide, Feb. 12, 1180. From 
the prologue of his work, the reader gathers that he often revisited his former 
brethren, and, \\hen the conversation turned on St. Edmund, he gave them 
the fruit of his researches. At last, urged by Prior Sihtric and Sub-Prior 
Gocelin, who met him at Thetford, he committed to writing what he had 
heard (qiKeilani ab aliis mihi tratlita), and what he had read fqucedam viva 
lectione cogiiita), dedicating his work to Abbot Ording, whose obedient servant 
he calls himself. His MS., treating of the parentage, birth, and early life of 
St. Edmund, is valuable, because he had access to records and genealogies 
long since lost. With Tanner's " Biblioth. Britan.," p. 304, compare Battely's 
" Antiquitates Sti. Edmundi Burgis," p. 76. The next important and most 
complete narrative extant of St. Edmund's life is the " Vita et Passio S. 
Edmundi Regis et Martyris una cum miraeulis ejusdem," MS. B"dl. 240, 
If. 024-077 veil folio XIV. cent., a compilation from all the chronicles, histories 
and legends of the saint then in existence and within reach. At intervals, in 
the margin of this MS., the compiler refers to the following authorities : 
Henry of Huntingdon, Simeon of Durham, St. Abbo, Gaufridus, Nicholas 
Prior of Wallingford, the chronicles of Westminster, Ely, and Norwich, 
Samson Abbas, Hermannus, and Osbert de Clare. After the life, the early 
incidents of which are word for word from Gaufiidus, follow the narrative of 
Abbot Baldwin's translation of the saint's body, and then the. earliest and 
latest records of St. Edmund's miracles. The whole MS., though called a 
compendium, tills 53 folio pages of small and closely written matter, and, if 
put into modern type, would fill a handsome volume. Another ancient 
" Vita S. Edmundi Regis et Martyris," MS. Cott. Tiber E 1. f. 2S3b suffered 
so materially in the fire of 1731 as to be now unreadable. Capgrave, however, 
has preserved it in his " Nova Legenda Angliie," f. 107, and a copy of it 
exists in the Bodleian library, MS. Tanner 15. The introduction of this 
" Vita" is taken from Gaufridus de Foiitibus ; the other part from Herman's 
narrative, ending with the erection of St. Edmund's Church in Canute's time. 
From the MSS. in his abbey library. John Lydgate, the monk-poet of St. 
Edinundsbury, wrote in verse the " Life and Acts of St. Edmund the King 
and Martyr," a poem varying in different MSS. from 300 stanzas of seven 
lilies <ach to twice that number. Lydgate, by far the most famous versifier 
of the lotli century, according to Prof. Craik (" English Literature and 
Language," p. 175), was born (A.D. 13SO) in the village of Lydgate, from which 
he takes his name. After studying in the university of Paris and tra veiling 
in Italy, he returned to his abbey, intimately acquainted with the literature 
of the countries through which he had passed, and stored with the learning 
of his age. After his return to his monastery, he spent the rest of his life, 
like St. Bede, in teaching and studying. A master of the English tongue, he 
rivalled Chaucer, whose disciple he was", in the smoothness of his verse. 


His wit, says Cainden, the very muses formed and modelled. Craik con- 
siders him a mercenary rhymester, because he received one hundred shillings 
from Abbot Whethamstede for putting into English verse the Latin legend 
of St. Alban, as if payment, then as now, did not rather commend a poet 
than condemn him. The same professor calls attention to Lydgate's diffuse- 
ness, but it is hard to agree with him that the monk-poet possessed very 
little strength or originality of imagination. Gillingwater in his History 
of Bury mentions some of Lydgate's poems, and Ritson gives a list of about 
two hundred and fifty of them. Several have been printed at various times ; 
among others his nine books of tragedies translated from a Latin work of 
Boccaccio's and printed at London in the reign of Henry VIII. A selection 
of Lydgate's minor poems, edited by Mr. Halliwell. was printed by the Percy 
Society (London, 1840). Lydgate wrote the poem of St. Edmund's life, as he 
himself tells us, "Whan the Sixte Henry in his estat royal, with his sceptre 
of Yngelond and of ffraunce held at Bury his feeste principal of Crystemasse." 
"The Abbot William," he continues, "gaff me chaarge to doon my attendaunce, 
the noble stoory to translate in substaunce out of Latin." There are extant 
as many as nine original MSS. of Lydgate's beautiful poem. None have yet 
been printed. M.S. Harl. 2278, presented to Henry VI. on his visiting 
Bury, and ornamented with 120 limnings, is considered one of the richest 
illuminated manuscripts in the world (see a description of it in vol. ii. of 
the Harleian Catalogue, pp. 639-649). MS. Ashmole 463 was dedicated and 
presented to Edward IV. Most of the MSS. of Lydgate's " Life and Acts of 
St. Edmund" not only vary in length, but differ verbally. The MSS. used 
here are Harl. 4826, for the copying of which the author is indebted to a 
London friend, and Harl. 2278. Though richly imaginative in his descriptions, 
Lydgate is a valuable authority on St. Edmund. He had at hand in his 
abbey library the most authentic lives and traditions of the saint, and he 
used them " folwying myn auetonrs in e'ery manere thing, as in substaunce 
folwyng the letter in dede." For further remarks of Lydgate's poems on St. 
Edmund see chapters x. and xii. ; see also chapter xii. for an account of 
" La vie Seint Edmund le Rey," a life in French verse by Denis Piramus, a 
courtier of Henry III., which has much in common with Lydgate's]. 

THE last chapter sketched the history of a brave 
and saintly dynasty, no less remarkable in our 
annals for its martyr and virgin spirit than for its 
bold and haughty blood. This chapter will treat of 
the descent and birth of St. Edmund, the last of that 
noble East Anglian line. 
The country of Old Saxony, not the Saxony of the present day, 

St. Edmund's . 

birth - claims to be the country of St. Edmund's birth. At 

the end of the eighth and the beginning of the ninth 
century, the period of our saint's early history, Old 
Saxony comprised the district which lies between the 
Ems and the Elbe, and stretches from Cologne to the 
northernmost part of Schleswig-Holstein. Its connec- 
tion with the early English kingdoms is a well known 
fact of history. The kindred races of the two countries 
were in frequent communication with each other. In 
the time of St. Boniface, of St. Willibrord and of the 
parents of St. Edmund, whole colonies of English 
passed over from Britain to Old Saxony, and the 
Saxons in their turn constantly sent their sons to be 


brought up in England. It is not surprising, then, 
that the East Anglian nobles on the murder of St. 
Ethelbert looked to Old Saxony as to an easy and 
convenient refuge. At first they hoped to rally 
again in their own land, but Offa pursued them in 
their flight from Sutton Wallis, overtook them as 
they crossed the plains of Ely, and annexed their 
country, as he had previously annexed Kent and 
Wessex. They never submitted, however, to the 
Mercian tyranny, choosing rather a few months' 
voluntary exile among friendly kinsmen in Saxony. l 

The whole event brought them in contact with Charlemagne 
Charlemagne. Their land of exile, in fact, fills an Old Saxony ' 
important page in the annals of the great Frankish 
emperor's reign. The Saxons had invaded and ravaged 
the imperial dominions over and over again. At last, 
after their attack on the Rhine Provinces, during his 
campaign against the Saracens, Charlemagne finally 
conquered them. Later on, in the year 782, when 
they revolted, he forced their king Witikind and his 
chief followers to become Christians as the sole con- 
dition of peace. Although from that time Witikind 
and his subjects remained faithful to their religion 
and firm in their allegiance, other Saxon bands, during 
a space of thirty-three years, continually made war, 
and were as frequently vanquished. Charlemagne 
had just succeeded in crushing one of these rebellions 
at the time of St. Ethelbert's murder, and the two 
events conspired to bring him into connection with the 
East Anglian nobles. In him they found a powerful 
and willing protector. With open arms the great ciiariemagne 

and England. 

emperor received any English prince whom the 
rapacity of Offa of Mercia drove to his court. ^Perhaps 

1 See " Annales Ecclesiastic! et Civiles Britanuoruni, Saxonum, 
Anglorum, &c.," R. P. Michaelis Alford (alias Griffith), vol iii., 
anno 841. 


the influence of Alcuin, the famous English scholar 
from Bede's school at Jarrow, made him ready to open 
his palace-gates to his favourite's compatriots ; more 
likely, fear of a neighbouring rival power and a secret 
wish to add England to his empire induced him to 
offer hospitality to the enemies of Mercia. In any 
case, Offa's victims invariably fled to Charlemagne's 
court for protection. Thither came Eardulph of 
Northumbria after his vain contest for the crown with 
Ethelred, the husband of one of Offa's daughters. 
Egbert, the claimant of the throne of Wessex, driven 
from his kingdom by another son-in-law of Offa's, 
likewise sought an asylum in the Frankish emperor's 
dominions. Kent also appealed to Charlemagne against 
Offa's invasion and tyranny ; lastly, the East Anglian 
princes and thanes received a welcome from him. The 
emperor was particularly kind to his English exiles. 
He advanced them to posts of trust in his empire ; he 
pushed their claims, and materially assisted them in 
their war of independence ; and he trained their youth 
in the art of war and educated them in his palace- 
Charlemagne Among those thus brought into contact with 

anil St. f 

r > th" unds Charlemagne through the seizure of East Anglia by 
the Mercians, were two cousins in whose veins flowed 
the royal blood of the Uffings. One of these, Offa, the 
namesake of Offa of Mercia, the exiles elected to 
succeed St. Ethelbert; the other, named Alcmund, 
Divine Providence destined one day to become the 
father of St. Edmund. Alcmund, though an exile and 
stranger in a foreign land, could thus claim a near 
relationship with the reigning house of East Anglia. 
Lydgate" styles him the "cousin," other chroniclers 
the " consanguineus," the blood relation, and "cognatus," 
the near kinsman, of Offa of East Anglia. Besides his 
royal blood Alcmund possessed qualities of mind and 


body of no ordinary character. As a mere boy lie 
distinguished himself among the English on the 
continent, and while still a youth Charlemagne thought 
him fit to govern part of his new conquest of Saxony. l 

The Protestant Dean Battely (followed by Arnold) asserts 
that the parentage of St. Edmund is all a myth the make-up of 
one Florentius, abbot of the church of St. Adalbert in " Egmunda," 
who in the year 1296 came on an embassy to England and visited 
the place in which lay the body or relics of St. Edmund the Martyr, 
once king of the Angles. This devout abbot wished very much to 
get some clue to the genealogy and acts of St. Adalbert and of 
his brothers in the flesh, and so among other works he searched 
into the chronicles of the kings of England, and in them he found 
it recorded that Adalbert (Ethelbert) had reigned over the Angles 
thirty-seven years and seven months before his brother Edmund 
obtained the kingdom. The two brothers had a sister named 
Brictiva, who was buried at Frankenwoerde. Their father's name 
was Alcmund, a prince of noble and ancient Saxon stock. Behold 
Alcmund the father of St. Edmund. So far Battely. 

It is answered : First, the facts connected with the parentage 
of St. Edmund are given, not on the authority of Florentius, but 
of Gaufridus, who wrote at least a hundred years before Abbot 
Florentius visited St. Edmm-dsbury. With abundant materials 
at hand, Gaufridus compiled the historical fragment a copy of 
which has survived to our own day. Now there is nothing positive 
to refute his evidence. To say that he drew upon his imagination 
for his facts is a rash and unwarrantable assertion. He mentions 
the sources from which he drew, viz. the records and traditions of 
the time. And, if the sixteenth century vandalism destroyed the 
sources, that is no reason for holding that they did not exist. 
Moreover, as the text shows, his facts accord with the events and 
customs of the age as related in other annals, and also with what- 
ever traditional or written history of East Anglia exists, scanty 
though it be. Secondly, Abbot Florentius made the grave mistake 
of confusing St. Edmund's brother, Adalbert, with St. Ethelbert. 
From that mistake follows a host of blunders. For instance, St. 
Ethelbert became the son of Alcmund. He was in fact the son of 
King Ethelred of East Anglia. Adalbert became a king and a 
martyr, and both Adalbert and Edmund were made to live in the 
eighth century instead of in the middle of the ninth. Florentius 
blundered, but it is hard to see how that militates against 
Gaufridus' facts. See, however, t he chronicle of John Wallingford, 
Gale's "Hist. Brit., Saxon. Scriptores, xv." vol. iii. p. 534. 


The character of Alcmund was not altogether unworthy of the trust 

King Alcmund. J 

reposed in him. Some of the old St. Edmundsbury 
registers style him saint, and one chronicle at least 
calls him Alcmund the great. l Noble in birth, hand- 
some in person, manly in his bearing ; in battle 
courageous, in council prudent ; above all, blameless 
in his private life and with the fear of God ever before 
his eyes, thus the chroniclers paint the father of St. 
Edmund. Kingship he regarded but as a nearer and 
more responsible service of the King of kings ; he 
looked upon himself only as the minister of God 
distributing His justice and mercy and proclaiming 
His laws. From the example no less than from the 
teaching of so saintly a father, his sons learnt to 
realize that higher sovereignty than the highest on 
earth, the sovereignty of Him who maketh kings and 
casteth them down, in whose sight the earthly sceptre 
and crown are of no avail when He chooses to put down 
the mighty from their seat and to exalt the humble. 
Charlemagne recognized the worth of such a man, and 
therefore, says the poet, Alcmund was " set in a chair 
of kingly dignity." 

Siwara was Alcmund's queen. If the tree is known 
st! e Edmund f by its fruit, then all that ancient writers say of 
Siwara only faintly depicts her admirable qualities. 
She was "meek as Esther," sings the old monk-poet, 
and " fair as Judith." Of a strong yet winning 
character, exceedingly fair, yet matronly and dignified,, 
she added to these queenly virtues more than the 
ordinary kindness and gentleness of womanhood, being 
ever full of tenderest pity for the afflicted, and 
making it her delight to feed and clothe the poor, 
arid to comfort the sick and sorrow-laden. 2 

1 See Leland, and Bodl. MS. 240, which spell his name Ulkmund. 

2 Dean Battely has started another theory with regard to- 
Siwara. The Life of St. Botulph, he says, mentions a certain 


Siwara bore King Alcmund three sous and one The children of 

Alcmund and 

daughter. l Cerne Abbey in Dorsetshire perpetuated siwara. 
the memory of the eldest son, St. Edwold. 2 Edwold 
came to England with his brother Edmund, and 
remained in East Anglia for some years. After the 
martyrdom of Edmund, the popular voice elected 
him to fill the vacant throne, which he refused. 
Fearing compulsion, he fled and hid himself in the 
valley of the Cerne. There beside the silver fountain 
known as St. Augustine's well, secluded from the rest 
of the world by the lofty chalk hills surrounding 
his hermitage, he gave himself up to a life of austerity 
and prayer. One 28th of November, he passed away 
to the other world. Soon after his death, the fame 
of miracles wrought by his intercession attracted 
pilgrims from all parts of England to his grave. The 
devotion of the faithful translated his body to a 
rich shrine, over which they raised the noble abbey 
of Our Lady, St. Peter, and St. Benedict, of whose 
former glories the present ancient gateway alone 
remains. 3 

St. Adalbert, or Elbert, 4 the third son of Alcmund 
and Siwara, is best known in connection with the 
Benedictine abbey of Cormin in Holland, where his 
body rested for many centuries after his death. Of 

Ethelraund, king of the South Saxons, whose mother's name was 
Siwara. The monkish historians, he continues, writing the 
legend of St. Edmund, make Siwara, the mother of Ethelmund, 
mother of St. Edmund. "John Wallingford," concludes Battely, 
"confirms my suspicions." The theory is ingenious but im- 

1 See Leland's " Collectanea," vol. i. p. 245, and vol. ii. 
p. 219, and Harpsfeld, p. 174. Capgrave speaks of St. Edmui d 
as an only child. Gaufridus mentions two sons, of whom Edmund 
was natu posterior. 

- Also spelt Ewold and Ewald. 

3 See Leland's "Itinerary." vol. viii. p. 71. 

4 Ibid. See also Mabillon's " Acta Sanctorum," steel, iii. toni. i. 
p. 645. 



St. Edmund 
the child of 

]>ilgrimage to 

his sister Wilgena little more than the name is 
recorded. l 

St. Edmund was Alcmund and Siwara's second son 
and their child of promise. His birth, like Isaac's 
in the Old Testament, and St. John the Baptist's in 
the New, was announced by an angel. Miraculous 
signs similar to those related in the lives of St. 
Dominic, St. Columbanus, St. Thomas of Canterbury, 
and other saints appeared at his birth, as if to mark 
his future greatness. He was in a special way the 
fruit of prayer. Alcmund often besought God to 
grant him a numerous and saintly family. In answer 
to his prayer, an angel from heaven admonished him 
to undertake a pilgrimage to the tombs of the 
Apostles, 2 for there God would reward his devotion 
and grant his petition. 3 

Then, as now, every pious Catholic desired to visit 
Rome, that city hallowed by so many sacred memories, 
which St. Cyprian apostrophised as " the mother and 
mistress, the root and foundation, of all the Churches 
of the universe." Thither, as to a new Jerusalem, the 
Mount Sion of Christendom, the newly converted 
kings and nations flocked to offer their homage and 
allegiance to Christ's Vicar, the father and teacher 
of all the faithful. At this time more than thirty 
English kings had made the pilgrimage to the tombs 
of the Apostles, and many, like Ina of Wessex and 
Coinred of Mercia, put off the crown and abdicated 
the throne in order to spend a life of prayer and 
good works within the precincts of the eternal city. 
Joyfully, then, in obedience to the angel's voice, 
Alcmund set out to visit the churches of Rome. 

1 If she were the same as Brictiva, her burial-place was 

- " Ad limina apostolorum," writes Gaufridus. 
3 Bodl. 240. 


Apparently, while in the holy city, he did not lodge 
in the English school or home of hospitality which 
Tna founded and supported with the first Peter-pence. 
In visiting the centre of Christendom to study the 
pure Catholic faith at its very source, English kings 
and princes, as well as bishops, priests, thanes, and 
freemen, usually stayed in Ina's hospice. But 
Alcmund scarcely belonged to England ; he therefore 
sought a lodging elsewhere, and became the guest of 
a Eoman widow of wealth and high patrician rank. 
This lady, after her husband's death, devoted her life 
to works of piety. One day, while conversing with 
Alcmund, she noticed on his breast a brilliant sun, A brilliant sun 

. n i shines on his 

whose rays, darting towards the tour points or the breast, 
compass, threw a miraculous light on all around. 
Moved by the vision, and filled with the spirit of 
prophecy, Alcmund's pious hostess declared that from 
him should arise a child whose fame, like to the 
eastern sun, should illumine tbe four quarters of the 
world, and whose example should spread God's glory 
everywhere, and enkindle in the hearts of men greater 
love of Christ. 1 After this, Alcmund did not tarry 
long in Rome. The object of his pilgrimage seemed 
already attained, and he prepared at once to return 
to his kingdom. 

On arriving in Saxony after his long absence, 
Alcmund made his way to Northemberg, or North . 

J St. Edmund 

Hamburg, 2 a city pleasantly situated at the mouth of ^ ifembur K , 

A.D. 841. 

1 The second nocturn lessons of St. Columbanus' office relate a 
similar wonder: "Columbanus, natione Hibernus, jam inde ab 
utero matris qure illogravida solem radientem sibi in quiete gestare 
visa est, futuram claritatem prresignavit." 

2 Leland gives Norembregis, Dugdale Nuremburg, Curteys' 
Register and the Douai MS. Northemberges, Lydgate North- 
emberge, Camden Norinberg. It is hard to say for certain what 
city is meant unless the present Hamburg. Nuremberg is not in 
Old Saxony ; Norden in Friesland, and Nordenham on the Weser are 



His English 

The name 

The saint's 



the Elbe, and claiming Charlemagne as its founder. 
The northern Genoa, and later on the rival of Venice, 
Northemberg held the first place among the towns and 
cities of Old Saxony. Alcmund made it the capital 
of his kingdom, and there, some months after his return 
from Rome about the end of the year 841, Siwara gave 
birth to St. Edmund. 

On his mother's side Edmund descended from the 
ancient Saxon kings of the continent : " Ex antiquorum 
Saxonum nobili prosapia oriundus," "from the noble 
stock of the ancient Saxons he sprang," writes his prin- 
cipal biographer. Through his father he inherited the 
blood royal of East Anglia, whose people St. Abbo 
calls his " comprovinciales," "fellow-countrymen" In 
after years his subjects loved to remember that the 
martyr king belonged to their own race ; and our 
Catholic forefathers made it their loudest boast 
that the great Edmund was an Englishman. 

The child thus nobly descended received in baptism 
the name of Edmund. His biographers see in this 
name a token of the saint's character and virtues. Ed, 
they remark, signifies blessed, and mund, dean ; one 
part of his name foreshadowed his pure and innocent 
life here on earth, and the other his blessed one with 
God in heaven. Had or Ed, says another author, means 
liappy, or, if derived from the Saxon cath, easy, gentle 
mild, and mund signifies peace ; so Edmund is happy, 
gentle, peace a name most suitable to one who 
willingly sacrificed his life for the peace and happiness 
of his subjects. 

From Edmund's earliest years his parents trained 

not important enough. Alcmund's capital, says Battely, quoting 
from a codex MS. in his time in possession of Stillingfleet, bishop 
of Worcester, was a most celebrated city. North Hamburg, or 
Hamburg, as given in the text, alone answers in every respect to 
what is recorded of Alcmund's capital. 


him in the Catholic and Eoman faith. : In that faith 
St. Augustine, St. Paulinus, and St. Felix had in- 
structed his ancestors, and in it generations of his 
people lived and died. Alcraund first learnt it at 
his mother's knee, then in the court of Charlemagne, 
finally perfecting it in Rome itself. Both the traditions 
of his house, therefore, and the education of his father 
secured Edmund's being brought up in the true faith. 
To complete his teaching, Alcmund often spoke of 
his pilgrimage to Eome, of the sacred places he then 
visited, and of the sovereign pontiff, Christ's Vicar, 
with whom he had conversed. On his father's knee, 
or seated at his feet, the boy Edmund listened with 
eager attention to the history of those renowned 
Churches whose saints had prayed for him before his 
birth. Doubtless from his father's lips he heard the 
legend of St. Ambrose and the emperor more powerful 
than Charlemagne, who humbly and reverently accepted 
the holy bishop's reproof. The youthful saint often 
heard tell of the terrible invasion of Attila, and of how 
Pope Leo checked the barbarians in their headlong 
course. As he listened with earnest childlike interest 
to these stories of the saints, there were planted deep in 
his soul a love and reverence for the Church and her 
pastors, a courage and boldness against force and rapine, 
which bore abundant fruit in after years. Edmund 
took special delight in the stories of the Christian 
soldier St. Sebastian and of the brave boy St. Paucra- 
tius, both of whom he afterwards so closely resembled. 
No wonder that, as he pictured to himself the amphi- 
theatre, and contrasted the fierceness of the wild beasts 
and of the maddened spectators with the placid bearing 
of the martyrs, his whole soul glowed with the desire 

1 "A primaeva fetate cultor veracissimoe fidei." MS. Harl. 2802 
f. 226. 


to fight and conquer in the cause of God and truth. In 
fact, so enthusiastically did he admire the heroic deeds 
of the martyrs, that he affirmed not long before his 
death that from childhood his wish had been to die 
for Christ. 
His mother's TO his mother's influence he owed that purer and 


and deeper sense which gave calm and wisdom to his 
earnestness. Through her care, his soul, while it lost 
none of its fire and resoluteness, grew in gentleness 
and prudence. In other words, she taught him to 
realize that which sobers yet elevates the wildest 
natures the supernatural though invisible world 
around us. She trained his broad and noble mind 
by showing him how to live in the greatness and vast- 
riess of the other world, and to view the circumstances 
of life with the light of eternity upon them. Not only 
at morn or eve did she bid him lisp his infant prayers, 
but through the day often speak with the angels and 
saints and converse with the Virgin Mother and her 
divine Son. One devotion especially Edmund imbibed 
with his mother's milk his love for the holy name of 
Jesus. In his childhood that name was ever on his 
tongue ; in his youth he repeated it as the name of his 
dearest master and friend ; with that name on his lips 
he gave up his soul to God. This love for the holy 
name affected the whole conduct of his life. "From 
his earliest youth," writes St. Abbo, "he followed Christ 
with his whole heart " " a primevo juventntis tempore, 
Christum toto secutus est pectore." 1 So, "day by day," 
sings the monk -poet, " by the grace of Christ, as he 
waxed in age he always increased in virtue," "demure in 
port," " angelic of visage," " comely to behold." As : 

" Ifro freesh lied sprynges renne streemys crystallyne, 
So yong Edmund, pleynly to declare, 
Shewyd how he cam from Alkmond and Siware. " 

1 Office of St. Edmund, MS. Bodl. Digby 109. 


Alcmund had seen the value of learning in the The saint's 


palace-school which Charlemagne instituted for the 
education of the young princes of his court. When he 
became a ruler himself, he therefore gave a ready 
welcome to his court to all scholars. He surrounded 
his sons with competent teachers, so that at an early 
age prince Edmund learned to read, a rare accomplish- 
ment in those days. Alcmund had him also instructed 
in the Latin tongue, and, while still in Saxony, the child- 
saint began to learn by heart the psalter of David, l a 
study which he completed after his arrival in England. 
Beyond this little is known of St. Edmund's child- 
hood, till he reached the age of twelve. He was then 
a golden-haired, blue-eyed Saxon boy, tall for his age, 
graceful and cheerful, and prudent beyond his years. 
Thus formed and gifted, Providence drew him forth, 
like his divine Saviour, from the obscurity of his early 
days. But the event which changed the whole course 
of his life and started a new epoch in his history 
may appropriately begin a fresh chapter. 

1 " Psalterium quod in Saxonia cocperat," writes Gaufridus. 


King Offa of East Anglia St. Edmund succeeds him 
St. Edmund is anointed and crowned. 

[Authorities Gaufridus de Fontibus, the Bodleian MS., and other authorities 
referred to at the beginning of the last chapter, still continue to be useful. 
St. Adamnan, " De Locis Sanctis," (Migne's Patrologia, vol. 88) is the 
great authority on the Holy Lind at this period. St. Bede quotes St. Adamnan's 
Diary in his" Ecclesiastical History," bk. v. e. xv., as valuable and reliable. 
On the Holy Places at this period see also Ijingard's " History and Antiquities of 
the Anglo-Saxon Church," vol. ii. chap. x. 1st edition. The description of 
St. Edmund's coronation is principally drawn from the ancient English 
pontifical of Archbishop Egbert of York (A.D. 745), printed by the Surtees 
Society, vol. 27, the preface to which gives a learned disquisition on the 
Anglo-Saxon pontificals. To Egbert's pontifical Dom Edmund Martene refers 
in his " De Antiquis Ecclesiiie Hit.," torn iii. ordo 1 ;ind ordo 2. It is certainly 
"the most ancient ordo ad benedicendum regein" known, and was in use in St. 
Edmund's time. For any side remarks on the customs of the Church at this 
age, see Martene and Lingard in the works mentioned above, and Dr. Rock in 
his " Church of Our Fathers"] 

King offa, the ALTHOUGH East Anglia fell a prey to the tyranny and 

predecessor of 

st. Edmund. rapine of the Mercian nobles after the martyrdom of 
St. Ethelbert, it remained a short time only in their 
hands. 1 The East Anglians soon combined for resist- 
ance. Taking advantage of the misfortunes which befell 
the royal house of Mercia, and supported by the 
Emperor Charlemagne, the exiles returned to England 
and started a war of independence. The young and 
valiant Prince Offa, whom they had chosen (A.D. 793) 
to succeed their late sovereign, headed them in this 
glorious struggle for freedom. Our best known chroni- 
clers mention this famous king of East Anglia, without, 
however, giving his name. 2 Their omission is supplied 

1 See John Brompton, " Chron.," p. 748 quoted by Battely, p. 11, 
" Historiae Anglicanse Scriptores, x." (Gale). 

2 Butler, the Little Bollandists and others, confuse Offa of Essex 


by the biographers of St. Edmund. Gaufridus writes 
that the king who reigned sixty-one years before St. 
Edmund, rivalling in this respect our Henry III. and 
George III., was named Offa. After this statement, he 
proceeds to warn his readers against confusing Offa of 
East Anglia " with that Offa king of the Mercians who 
iniquitously beguiled and slew Blessed Ethelbert, or 
with that other noble Offa, the illustrious king of the 
East Saxons, who, out of love of Christ and the 
kingdom of the gospel, left wife and children and 
country to go on a pilgrimage to Rome, there to receive 
from Pope Constantino the tonsure and monastic habit, 
and whence, after death, he reached the vision of the 
blessed Apostles in heaven." 

As a ruler and warrior Offa of East Anglia was in no The reign of 

King Otta. 

way inferior to other kings of his royal line. Gaufridus 
calls him "justitire cultor et pacis amator," "a respecter 
of justice and a lover of peace" He began his reign 
with the support of the Emperor Charlemagne. Charle- 
magne had previously despatched Egbert from his court 
to be king of Wessex, and Eardulph to sit once more 
on the throne of Northumbria. l He now lent his 
powerful aid to Offa and the thanes of East Anglia, to 
enable them to throw off for ever the Mercian su- 
premacy. Once in possession of his country, king Offa 
took up both sword and sceptre with a firm hand. In 
<819, he engaged in battle with Cenulf, the only 
sovereign since the murderer of St. Ethelbert who 
wielded the Mercian sword with any effect. Victory 
crowned his arms, and he left Cenulf and the flower of 
his army dead upon the field. Five years afterwards, 
the threatening attitude of Mercia sent him and his 

with the predecessor of St. Edmund, although he died ninety 
years before his namesake became king of East Anglia, and a 
hundred and forty before St. Edmund's birth. 

1 See Green's "Short History of the English People," p. 41. 


wise men to the court of their once fellow-exile, Egbert 
of Wessex. l As a result of this interview Offa per- 
suaded Egbert of the mutual advantage of an alliance 
against Mercia. The two kings at once carried war 
into the heart of Mercia ; they fought side by side in 
the battle of Ellandune on the banks of the Willy, 
where they utterly defeated the forces of Bernulf, the 
successor of Cenulf. When Bernulf attempted later on 
to wreak his vengeance on East Anglia, Offa and his 
men met him on the frontiers of their kingdom, and 
single-handed routed his army, and slew him and five 
of his dukes. Ludecan, the successor of Bernulf,. con- 
tinued the contest, and likewise fell by the sword of 
Offa, the third victim whom God seemed to require for 
the blood of His servant Ethelbert. Towards the end 
of his reign a more formidable enemy challenged King 
Offa in the form of a party of Danes, who, entering his 
kingdom from the Lincolnshire fens (A.D. 838), en- 
deavoured to push their way to the Thames. The king 
boldly attacked them, and, though they effected their 
design, it was only, says Ethel werd, after great slaughter 
had been made of them in East Anglia. 
offa seeks an Defensive warfare did not prevent Offa from devot- 

heir to his 

throne. ing himselt to the more peaceful work 01 government. 

All his reforms, however, were likely to fall to the 
ground, unless he could leave a successor firm and 
unflinching as himself to continue his work. He 
knew well from the history of Xorthumbria, how rival 
claimants to the throne desolate and lay waste the 
fairest kingdoms. Yet he had no heir. His son by 
Queen Botilda, the saintly Fremund, 2 had renounced 

1 See Ethehverd's "Chronicle," A.D. 824-825, etc., and Lingard 
on the reign of Egbert. 

2 St. Fremund, according to Capgrave, was the son of Offa of 
East Anglia, and Lydgate in Ashmole MS. 46 f. 54, writes : "To 
Kin" Otla Fremund was son and heir, reigning in Northland 


the kingly dignity for a hermit's life. Offa looked 
around in vain for some one who should take his place, 
and whose rule would be universally acknowledged. 
His anxiety for the future increased on learning that 
the Norsemen swarmed the high seas in greater num- 
bers, and were actually plundering the mainland of the 
south. Meanwhile the infirmities of age crept silently 
but quickly upon him. In his trouble and distress this He resolves on 

l ' r a pilgrimage to 

valiant prince, as renowned for piety as for prowess Jer salei11 - 
and kingly wisdom, whom God had raised up to avenge 
the death of his saints, often lifted up his hands in 
prayer to heaven for guidance and direction. At last, 
under a sudden inspiration from heaven, he resolved 
to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem " to adore in the 
place where the feet of the Lord had stood." l God, he 
argued, would not be deaf to prayers offered up in 
those holy places which the life, labours, and death of 
His Son had sanctified. 

The aged king took advantage of his pilgrimage to And visits 

"~ Saxony on 

visit his cousin Alcmund, whose counsel he judged MS way. 
would assist him in prosecuting his arduous journey. 2 

[Norfolk], the story beareth witness. His mother, Botild, right 
goodly and right fair." Lydgate, quoted by Yates, is made to say 
that Botild was St. Edmund's sister. According to Harpsfeld 
quoted by Cressy, p. 739, Fremund was son of Count Algar of 
Essex by his wife Thova, and so brother to the unfortunate 
wretch Leofstan, who irreverently opened the coffin of St. Edmund, 
and was in consequence struck with madness and disease. Leland 
("Itinerary," vol. viii. p. 72), in making Erconwald, bishop of 
London and Ethelberga, his sister, the offspring of Offa king of 
East Anglia, confuses Offa of the East Saxons, who died A.D. 708, 
with Offa of the East Angles, who died in 854. The East Saxons 
were quite distinct from the East Angles, a fact not adverted to by 
even our most reliable annalists. See the lessons of St. Ercon- 
wald's feast in the Benedictine Breviary, the " Annales Benedic- 
tini," vol. i. bk. xvi. p. 539, and Hardy's "Materials," vol i. 
pt. 2, p. 522. 

1 "In loco ubi steterunt pedes Domini adorare. " Gaufridus. 

2 " Cujus perutile didicerat fore consilium ad perficiendum illud 
iter tarn arduum. " 


Old Saxony lay most conveniently in his route to the 
Holy Land. Thence he could travel overland directly 
and safely through Charlemagne's dominions to one of 
the southern European ports, and thence take ship for 
the east. He accordingly set sail with a goodly retinue 
of knights and serving-men for the mouth of the Elbe. 
He had^sent news of his coming before, and most of the 
noblesse of Saxony assembled at Northemberg to give 
him a royal welcome. l His ships anchored in the lakes 
of Alster, and he and his suite disembarked to enjoy 
the hospitality of King Alcmund. 
He meets st. To wait as pages upon his royal guest, Alcmund 


selected a certain number of the most illustrious youths 
of Saxony, among them his two sons Edmund and Adal- 
bert. All endeavoured to serve the venerable Offa 
with readiness and fidelity, but Edmund especially 
was always at his side willing to oblige and to please, 
so that he made a great impression upon his aged 
uncle. 2 Struck by the young saint's blithe and win- 
ning manner, his heavenly countenance, his graceful 
carriage, his sweet and modest speech, 3 Offa applied 
to him the words of Solomon : " Hast thou seen a man 
swift in his work ? He shall stand before kings and 
shall not be in obscurity." 4 The king saw in the 
boy a virtue and discretion far beyond his tender years. 
He remembered, too, Edmund's descent from the royal 
line of the Uffings, and therefore his eligibleness to the 
throne of East Angiia. Already the old king's prayers 
seemed answered. Edmund possessed every princely 
qualification of birth and heart and mind. What better 
or more suitable successor could he have ? 

1 " Utpote rex, et regis Saxonici cognatus." 

2 Strictly speaking, Offa was St. Edmund's cousin, but on account 
of his age and dignity he is often called St. Edmund's uncle. 

3 MS. Harl. 2802 says of the youthful Edmund that "polleret 
bonis moribus." 

4 Prov. xxii. 29. 


So strongly did this idea grow upon him that, before Andadop's him 

as his heir. 

continuing his pilgrimage, Offa resolved to adopt 
Edmund as his son and heir. According to William of 
Croyland, * instances of similar adoptions were not 
unusual. The Saxons frequently entrusted their sons 
to the English to be educated, and very often in 
the case of royal princes adopted children succeeded to 
the throne. Accordingly, before bidding farewell to the The ceremony <>f 

J ' adoption. 

Saxon king and his noble retainers, Offa, whose heart 
expanded with affection towards the youthful Edmund 
resolved to publicly adopt him as his son. In the 
presence of the whole court he pressed the boy to his 
heart and kissed him; then, taking a ring, he placed it on 
the lad's finger. " My most beloved son Edmund," he 
said, " accept this memento of our kinship and mutual 
love. Eemember me as one grateful for your service, in 
reward for which with God's permission I hope to leave 
you a paternal inheritance." Edmund received both gift 
and promise with boyish glee. His father, however, who 
understood the full meaning of the ceremony, seemed 
taken by surprise. Pleased, however, with the favour 
shown his boy, he quickly explained to him the nature 
of the proposal, and formally asked his consent. 
" Consider, Edmund," he said, " the offer of the East 
Anglian king. Are you willing to accept him as your 
father in my place ? Shall he provide for you as his 
son, and you regard him as your father, so as in 

1 Miserunt Anglis puerum Saxones alendum, 
Qtti restauraret quod rapu6re patres, 
Edmundus felix, &c. 
Anglorumque puer fines habitavit Eoos 
Ut consanguineus alumnus Oplise. 
Et postea, Aff'ectans prodesse magis proeesse sepulti, 
Supplendas patrui suscipit ille vices. 

William of Croyland, quoted by Battely, p. 22. 
See David Chytneus' " Saxonia " for a list of kings whom Old 
Saxony gave to England. 


future to live in my house another's son ? " Whatever 
answer Edmund gave, and probably he submitted 
wholly to his father's guidance, the words delighted 
Offa, for he embraced the boy again, and covered his 
oHa shows cheeks with kisses. Then, in the presence of his East 

Kdmuml his 

signet ring. Anglian thanes and of the whole Saxon court, he drew 
from his finger his coronation ring, " to him most 
special and entire." With that ring the holy successor 
of St. Felix had wedded him to his kingdom. 
With tears coursing down his furrowed cheeks, he 
showed it to prince Edmund. " Son Edmund," he 
said, " observe closely this ring, notice its design and 
seal. If, when far away, I intimate to you by this 
token my wish and desire, do you without delay 
execute my order. As the noble crowd assembled 
bears witness, I intend to regard you as my most 
beloved son and heir." 

The East Satisfied with the happy issue of his visit to Saxony. 

Anglians rr,i j > 

p?igrirnag^ eir ^^ a ma( ^ e his final preparations and started once more 
on his journey. Crowds of spectators lined the streets 
to see the royal pilgrimage set out. Alcmund and a 
long procession of clergy and nobles devoutly accom- 
panied it some way out of the city. Then the brother- 
monarchs bade each other farewell, and parted never 
to meet again on earth. Alcmund continued to guide 
and direct his court and realm as in the past. Offa 
proceeded towards the Great Sea, intending to take 
ship at Genoa or Venice for the Holy Land. 

St. Edmund's biographers say little of other incidents 
in King Offa's pilgrimage. That his journey was slow 
and perilous compared with what it is now-a-days 
there can be no doubt. The roads were uncertain and 
but rarely trodden. In spite of the vigilance of Charle- 
magne and his successors, robbers infested the woods 
and mountains. Thanks, however, to treaties and the 
reverential protection afforded to pilgrims, rich and 


poor, the East Anglian king and his followers reached 
the Holy Land in safety. 

St. Adamnan, the writer of St. Columba's life, has The Holy Land, 

A.D. 853. 

left a description of the holy places at this period, from 
which it is easy to conjecture at what port the pilgrims 
from England landed, what hallowed scenes they 
visited, and in what sacred churches they prayed 
during their sojourn in the most historic country of 
the world. Landing at Joppa, the principal port of the 
East, they set out without delay for Jerusalem. Of 
the six gates of the holy city they entered by the 
western, called David's gate. If it were about the 15th 
of September, they perhaps saw the miraculous rain 
which, according to tradition, the Great Creator made 
to fall copiously at eventide to cleanse the city of his 
beloved Son from the filth and refuse of the autumn 
fair. The streets presented a strange and novel sight 
to the visitors from the west. Camels and mules 
thronged the gates ; men and women in flowing eastern 
robes met them at every step. But the English 
strangers hurried past the picturesquely dressed loiter- 
ers, past the many stately buildings for which the city 
was then renowned, towards the round church of the 
Holy Sepulchre. In this church three walls and three 

The church 

ways, one encircling the other, enclosed the gold and 2 f th , e , Holy 


marble roof which rose over the tomb wherein the 
body of the Lord reposed from its burial to its 
resurrection. Twelve lamps in honour of the twelve 
Apostles burned day and night in this temple of the 
Anastasis. Two other royal and magnificent churches 
adjoined. In the one called the Church of Golgotha, 
Offa knelt before the great silver cross fixed in the 
very rock which once held the wooden cross whereon 
suffered the Saviour of mankind. Suspended aloft, 
a great brazen wheel supported a circle of lamps, 
which burned day and night around the sacred spot 


The other church, called the Church of the Martyrdom, 
stood over the spot where St. Helen the Empress dis- 
covered the cross of the King of Martyrs. Offa and 
his attendants kissed the sacred ground on which the 
Saviour's cross lay buried for three hundred years ; 
then, with other pilgrims, they turned aside to the 
altar of the silver double-handled cup which our Lord 
blessed with His own hands when He supped with His 
Apostles the evening before He died. Within the 
cup lay the sponge once saturated with the vinegar 
and hyssop which our dying Saviour tasted. In the 
portico of the basilica the English pilgrims were 
privileged to gaze upon the spear which opened their 
Redeemer's heart, and to view the linen cloth on which 
Christ our Lord's head reposed in the sepulchre. This 
linen cloth the Jews once stole. When the Christians 
claimed it back, the Saracen judge, in order to end the 
dispute, commanded his men to throw the sacred relic 
into a fire especially kindled to consume it. But the 
fire harmed not the precious cloth, and the Christians 
in solemn procession triumphantly carried back their 
treasure to its shrine. The pilgrims venerated one 
other relic before they left Constantino's churches, 
the linen winding-sheet which enclosed the Virgin 
Mother's body after her death, and which the Apostles 
found in the empty tomb after her assumption into 

On leaving Jerusalem, devotion led the pilgrims to 

The valley of 

Josaphat. the church over the tomb of our Lady in the valley 
of Josaphat. Beside that tomb stood the sepulchre 
of Simeon, the prophet who held in his arms the " Light 
for the revelation of the Gentiles." Again, not far off 
they saw the tomb of St. Joseph, our Lord's guardian 
and foster-father. Crossing the valley of Josaphat, 
Offa repaired to Mount Olivet, on which at this time 
stood two churches. One marked the scene of Jesus' 


agony ; the other, on the summit, the spot whence He 
ascended into heaven. The print of Christ our Lord's 
last footsteps on earth, protected by a railing of bur- 
nished brass, remained visible in the centre of the 
second church. Above, the roof, left open to the sky, 
revealed as it were the very spot through which, on the 
day of His Ascension, our King of Glory, drawing aside 
the curtain of heaven, entered into His kingdom. From 
the Mount of Olives the pilgrims passed on to Bethania 
to see the tomb of Lazarus ; then they turned towards 
Bethlehem, a little village perched on the brow of a 
grassy hill with a green valley all around. In Beth- Be tiiieiipm. 
lehem they venerated the spot where " the Word was 
made flesh, and dwelt amongst us ; " there they saw, 
adorned with gold and precious stones, the manger of 
the Infant Jesus, which the faithful afterwards re- 
moved to Rome. In the neighbourhood of Bethlehem 
guides pointed out the tombs of the four patriarchs' 
and of Rachel, David and St. Jerome. From Jerusalem 
and Bethlehem the pilgrim descended into the valley 
of the Dead Sea, and, passing through Jericho, made 
his way to Galilee, breaking the journey at Jacob's 

J Galilee. 

well and Samaria. Nor did King Offa and his suite 
pass by unnoticed the village where our Lord met 
the ten lepers, or the gates of Nairn, where He raised 
the widow's son to life. Thus they arrived at Nazareth, 
nestling quietly and peacefully in its verdant bowl- 
shaped valley. Two churches graced the modest town. 
One canopied the cottage in which the angel Gabriel an- 
nounced the Incarnation to the Virgin Mother; the other 
the house in which the boy Jesus grew up to manhood. 
From Nazareth Offa and his knights visited the woods 
and flowery heights of Thabor. Passing through the 
thick and beautiful verdure that covered its sides, they 
reached the three churches on its summit, the three 
tabernacles, as it were, which Peter would have built to 


his Lord, to Moses and to Elias. From the monastery- 
tower on the top of Thabor, the travellers gazed out 
over the sea of Galilee, on the margin of whose shores 
at irregular intervals they beheld the historic towns 
of Tiberias, Magdala, Bethsaida, and Capharnaum. Far 
beyond the sea they caught a glimpse of the desert 
where the Son of God fed the multitudes, touching 
image of the most wonderful of His sacraments. A 
journey of seven or eight clays through higher Galilee, 
by the sources of the Jordan, and through the cedar 
groves of Mount Libanus, brought the party to the 
plain of Damascus. There they contemplated the 
scene of the great Apostle's conversion ; in imagination 
they saw the bright light and heard the divine voice 
which changed Saul the Zealot's heart. Passing 
through the delightful gardens, which stretched all 
around, they entered into Damascus, the capital of 
Syria. A week within its walls ended their pilgrimage. 
But travellers to the Holy Land thought their 

rhe return by 

Constantinople. j ourne y incomplete unless they venerated the true 
cross, which at that time the walls of Constantinople 
guarded. In embarking, therefore, at Joppa to return 
home, King Offa resolved to visit the city of Constan- 
tinople, the capital of the Eastern Empire. A fifteen 
days' voyage first brought him and his suite to 
Alexandria, but, leaving that city and its cathedral 
with its empty shrine of St. Mark unvisited, they 
sailed at once for Crete, and thence to Constantinople- 

iiiness ami death Either before or after paying his devotions to the 
true cross, Offa fell sick. The storms and trials of 
eighty winters had whitened his beard and bent his 
once stately form. The fatigue of his pilgrimage had 
told upon a constitution already weakened by age 
and by the mental and bodily troubles of a long reign. 
Offa well knew that his twofold pilgrimage was drawing 
to a close. A holy calm, however, possessed the aged 


monarch. His last great act of piety and religion had 
gained him an heir worthy of his throne, and destined 
to be the greatest glory of his kingdom. Edmund, the 
reward of a pilgrimage to Rome, God now gave to East 
Anglia in reward of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. 

As Offa sailed through the Hellespont, the scenery 
drew his thoughts more than ever to his own land. 
Dark and luxuriant foliage fringed the shores, the 
trees dipped their evergreen branches into the clear 
waters. Through similar scenes had he glided on those 
rivers of England, whose streams flow swiftly towards 
the ocean similes of his own transitory life making 
quickly for eternity. He grew seriously worse as the 
vessel neared the celebrated monastery and church 
dedicated to St. George which at that time crowned 
the heights overlooking the Hellespont or Dardanelles 
Without delay, under the shadow of the monastery 
which gave the name of " Brachium Sancti Georgii," 
or " St. George's arm," to the neighbouring waters, 1 
King Offa confessed his sins for the last time, and 
received the Holy Housel and the solemn anointing. 

As the hour drew nigh when he was to leave this Hi ? la - s ^ ," iessa r 1 ' 

to St. Edmund. 

world, the dying king summoned his followers to his 
bedside. His earthly career, he knew, was drawing to 
a close. He wished to confer with them before he died 
on the peace of his country and the succession to 
the crown. " You know," he said, " what dissen- 
sions rival ambition and greed for power bring upon 
a nation. It behoves us to consult for our kingdom, 
in order to avoid this diabolical snare, and establish 
a government of peace and justice. To prevent all 
rivalry in your choice of a king, I name as my 

1 Petits Bollandistes, torn. iv. 23 avril ; Butler, April 23. Roger 
of Hovedon, Rolls Publ., vol iii. p. 47, says, "Et alter Brachium 
Sancti Georgii quod est apud civitatem Constantinopolim." In 
the Glossary "Brachium St. Georgii" is interpreted Archipelago- 


successor one whom you know, Prince Edmund, the 
son of my cousin the king of Saxony. God has given 
him grace of body and wisdom of mind worthy of a 
throne. High and low will love and favour him as 
one able to rule firmly and well." Thereupon he 
handed them his signet ring, bidding them take it to 
Saxony as a sign and token of his will. 

Kneeling round the bed of their dying sovereign, 
the East Anglian knights solemnly promised to deliver 
the ring to Edmund, and with it the message of their 
lord. So Offa's soul passed away in peace. Tearfully, 
and with what dirge and requiem they could procure 
in a strange land, his thanes laid him to rest on the 
shores of that Hellespont which Xerxes had crossed by 
his bridge of boats, and at whose mouth the ruins of 
ancient Troy mournfully stood sentinel. l Then, turn- 
ing sorrowfully away from the grave, they hastened 
back to Saxony to greet their new sovereign. 
.st Edmund ( ^ n reaching the court of Alcmund of Saxony, the 

turone'Vnlast East Anglian nobles announced the sad news of Offa's 
death. At the same time they presented the royal 
signet ring to Prince Edmund, and urged his speedy 
departure for England. Edmund's father, however, 
hesitated. He considered his son of too tender an age 
to undertake the onerous duties of a kingdom. He was 
unwilling, moreover, to give up so suddenly Ids own and 
Siwara's favourite child. At the same time, fearing to 
act against the providence of God, which evidently 
pointed to a high and noble destiny for his son, he 
withdrew to his chamber to meditate and pray over 
the matter, as well as to mourn the death of his royal 
cousin. Meanwhile he summoned the bishops and the 

1 The events of Offa's life may be dated thus : Birth about A.D. 
770 ; election to the kingdom of East Anglia, A.D. 793 ; defeat of 
Cenulf of Mercia, A.D. 819; conference with King Egbert, A.D. 
824 ; visit to Saxony and adoption of St. Edmund, A.D. 853 ; 
death in St. George's Bay, A.D. 854. 


wise men of Saxony to meet him at Xorthemberg. 
Patting before them the last will and testament of the 
late king of England and the request of the East 
Anglian deputation, he asked their advice as to the 
course which he should pursue. They answered with one 
accord that Edmund should go to East England, there 
to be crowned as "born next in the kingly line," for 
clearly God's finger pointed thither, and against God's 
will "may be no resistance nor counsel which may 
avail." 1 "He ordaineth by marvellous ways the 
palm of princes and the crowning of kings." Alcmund 
now remembered the Roman widow's prophecy that the 
lustre of Edmund's virtues, like the rays of the sun, 
should spread from the east to the west. Recognising 
God's will in all that had occurred, Alcmund at last 
acceded to the request of the East Anglian embassy. 

It now remained for the royal father to take all st. Edmund's 

expedition to 

necessary precautions for his son's safety and well- England. 
being in the country of his adoption. He therefore 
assigned to the young prince a force numerous and 
powerful enough to support his claim to the throne, 
should it be called in question. For Edmund's body- 
guard he added to the retinue of the late king several 
thanes all notable in his realm for wisdom and chivalry. 
Not satisfied with this, Alcmund determined to select 
for his son a counsellor who by his age and prudence 
would worthily take his own place. He possessed in 
his kingdom at the time a noble named Sigentius, 2 
remarkable for his integrity of life and knowledge of 
men. He was experienced in the use of arms, and, 
though advanced in years, endowed with that calmness 
and cheerfulness of disposition which quickly win the 
respect and affection of youth. This knight Alcmund 

1 Prov. xxi. 30. 

2 Alford gives a deed of gift made by St. Edmund to Sigentius 
in the year of the saint's landing in East Anglia. 


made Edmund's chief guardian. The young prince's 
retinue further consisted of priests and clerics to offer 
up the daily mass, to chant the divine office, and to 
instruct him in all holy doctrine. Lastly, Alcmund 
assigned his son all such household attendants as 
became his rank. In fact, he omitted nothing that 
Edmund's dignity required or his claims demanded. l 

Before the expedition set sail, the child of God knelt 
down upon the ground to receive his father's and mother's 
blessing. Then he embarked, and the ship weighed 
anchor. A sorrow which no words can describe affected 
the whole land at his departure, for all had learned to 
love the bright and guileless Edmund. His mother 
especially bewailed his loss. Of her the poet sings : "A 
tender mother's love will out ; tears and weeping are 
tokens of her heart's bitterness ; " as Siwara kissed her 
brave and noble boy, " salt tears bedewed all her face," 
and " no word could she utter for pain and bitterness of 
parting." She watched the vessels sail down the river,, 
disconsolate, and gazed out upon the sea, till the fleet 
dwindled to a speck on the horizon. 

He lands at St. Edmund sailed for the eastern coast of England. 

The voyage was neither long nor dangerous. The 
English and Saxons were, then as now, expert seamen ; 
and frequent intercourse made them fully acquainted 
with the shoals, sandbanks, and other perils of the 
neighbouring seas. On this occasion, however, they 
needed neither skilful navigation nor knowledge of the 
high seas. Wind and weather favoured, and St. 
Edmund in the autumn of 855 reached the land where 
two royal crowns awaited him. 

The fleet touched at the north-east point of the 
Norfolk coast, where a cliff sixty feet high and a 
mile in length juts out into the sea. This cliff, now 

1 Speed (fol. 329) says that Alcmund maintained his son's election 
and sent him with a power to claim the kingdom. See Alford also. 


called St. Edmund's Head or Point, shelters on its west 
a wide and beautiful bay, from whose shores the 
amber-coloured buildings of modern Hunstanton look 
out smilingly upon the sea. No more suitable spot 
presented itself for St. Edmund to land his forces, and 
on this part of the East Anglian coast the young prince 
put ashore. l About an arrow's flight from the place of 
landing the expedition crossed the dry bed of a river 
which had once flowed into the sea. Beyond lay a 
wide and barren plain. Here, at the very entrance of 
his kingdom, the youthful stranger prostrated on the 
ground and prayed God to bless his coming and make 
it profitable to the land and its people. From that 
hour the soil round about proved the virtue of the 
saint's prayer. Sandy and sterile before, henceforth it 
bore the richest crops in all East England. As the 
saint rose and mounted his horse, twelve springs 2 of 
sweet and crystal water gushed forth from the earth as 

1 "St. Edmund," says Camden, "being adopted by Oft'a to be 
heir of the kingdom of the East Angles, landed with a great 
retinue from Germany in some part not far from St. Edmund's 
Cape, called Maidenboure. But which it should be, is not so 
certain : Heacham is too little and obscure ; nor does Burkham 
seem large enough to receive such a navy upon that occasion, 
though it must be confessed that their ships in those days were 
but small. Lynn seems to lay the best claim to it, both as the 
most eminent port, and because that is really Maidcn-boure, St. 
Margaret the Virgin or Maiden being as it were the tutelary saint 
of that place." ("Brit.," p. 470). A better explanation which 
Camden might have brought forward in support of Lynn's claim 
occurs in MS. Bodl. 240 f. 674, where mention is made of a chapel 
of St. Edmund at Lynn, and of miracles wrought therein by the 
intercession of the saint ; but Gaufridus de Fontibus, with whose 
work Camden was probably unacquainted, leaves no doubt about 
Hunstanton being the place of St. Edmund's landing. 

2 Gaufridus says twelve springs ; Lydgate says five ; Capgrave 
"Nova Legenda Anglia3," fol. cvii., merely states, that a fountain 
sprang up, curing many infirmities. The springs are now called 
the Seven Springs. 



tokens of God's favour. " These springs," adds Gaufri- 
dus, " to this our own day excite the admiration of the 
beholder, flowing as they do with a continuous sweet 
and cheering murmur to the sea. Many sick," he 
continues, " wash in these fountains and are restored to 
their former health, and pilgrims carry the healing water 
to remote parts for the infirm and others to drink." 
Memorials of st. The whole neighbourhood of Hunstanton is still full 

Edmund at 

Hunstanton. O f memories of that landing. After his coronation he 
founded the royal town or fortress of Honestones-dun, 
or the town of the hoiiey-stones, so called from the 
colour of the stone of which he built it, or, according to 
an old chronicle, from the character of his followers 
who first dwelt there. For, as honey signifies sweetness 
and stone hardness, so Edmund's followers were notable 
for two qualities gentleness in time of peace, and 
manly courage in time of war : " in peace like lambs, 
in war like lions." On the promontory overlooking 
the bay and still called after him, Edmund built a 
palace, a favourite and frequent residence of his. From 
its founder it took the name of Maidenburie the abode 
of the maiden " maiden " signifying in old English a 
chaste, pure, unmarried person of either sex, 1 and 
" burie," from the Saxon bur, an inner chamber or 
place of shade and retirement. What a flood of light 
this name sheds over the character of the chaste and 
youthful king, who chose this place of retirement and 
meditation by the clear and boundless ocean, which 
symbolised to him the Divine eternity and immensity, 
in the light of which he viewed all the events 
of life. The piety of the faithful in after ages 

1 "Maidenhood is both in men and women. Those have right 
maidenhood, who from childhood continue in chastity. They 
shall have from God a hundredfold meed in life everlasting." 
Aelfric's "Homilies," quoted by Lingard in his "Antiquities of 
the Anglo-Saxon Church," vol. ii. p. 11, 2nd edition. 


turned the royal residence of Maidenburie into a chapel, 
the ruins of which, called St. Edmund's chapel, are 
visible to the present day, close by the lighthouse 
which crowns the cliff. St. Edmund's springs are 
situate about a quarter of a mile from the ancient and 
beautiful church of St. Mary in Old Hunstanton. In 
Catholic times the devout clients of St. Edmund flocked 
to their crystal waters, as pilgrims journeyed to St. 
Winefrid's Well on the western side of the isle. Now, 
however, the holy wells of Hunstanton belong to the 
forgotten past. Farmers, indeed, for miles round send 
their water-carts to be filled at them, and one of the 
springs supplies the new town with its sparkling water ; 
but, though marvellous cures are said to be wrought at 
them, few recognise their miraculous power, and only 
now and then does a solitary pilgrim linger over the 
spot, and recall to memory the stranger prince who 
knelt there to pray for his country. 

After landing his forces, Edmund proceeded to Attle- st. Edmund 
borough, a city founded by the Saxon prince Atheling, Stieborough. 
from whom it derives its name. At this period the 
East Anglians regarded Attleborough as the capital of 
Norfolk. Under Offa it was the chief royal residence 
and the centre of government. Edmund in taking 
possession of it thus unmistakably asserted his claim 
to the throne, and proclaimed the object of his 

A few weeks later the young prince visited the court He is present 

of Ethelwulph, king of Wessex, probably in order to wufph 

Nov. 5, A.D. 855. 

get that monarch s support to his claim. 1 While in 
Wessex, he attended the great meeting which Ethel- 
wulph called together on November 5, A.D. 855, to con- 
firm his famous charter of immunities to Holy Church. 
Before the high altar of the cathedral of St. Peter at 

Ingulph (Bohn's edition, p. 35). See also Roger of Wen- 
over, and Lingard's " Anglo-Saxon Church,'' vol. i. p. 247. 


Winchester, the highest magnates of the realm affixed 
their signatures to a charter in honour of the glorious 
Virgin Mary, of the blessed Apostles and of all the 
saints," in order to solicit the protection of God, through 
the psalms and holy sacrifices of religious men and 
women, against the repeated descents of the northern 
pirates in those times of alarm and peril." The solemn 
and magnificent assembly which thus bore witness in 
the presence of God to the king's generous gift to the 
Church comprised the chief bishops, abbots, abbesses, 
earldormen, thanes and lieges of the land. Conspicuous 
among them, on the steps of their father's throne, stood 
Ethelwulph's sons, Ethelbald, Ethelbert, Ethelred and 
the boy Alfred, each destined to hold in turn the royal 
sceptre. Edmund stood side by side with the king of 
Mercia. Together these royal princes form an historic 
group ; all will become famous within the next fifteen 
years for their valiant struggle with the savage Danish 
,, hordes. The two youngest, Edmund and Alfred, especi- 

Alfrerl the Great. 

ally command attention. Both by their wise govern- 
ment and brave resistance to the pagan invader merit 
the title of Great. Edmund fell a martyr in the 
struggle ; his death gave new life to the cause for 
which he died, and his name became the rallying cry 
of the Christian English against the heathen Dane. 
Alfred, now a boy of seven years, who looked up 
wistfully into the handsome princely face of East 
Anglia's greatest glory, history knows as a victorious 
conqueror. He reaped the fruit of Edmund's martyr- 
dom. The fatality which hung over the invaders of 
St. Edmund's kingdom delivered Goth run, a comrade 
of Hinguar and Hubba's, l into his hands, and ended 
the struggle, for some years at least, in favour of the 
English. Gothrun's defeat marked still more clearly 

1 Hinguar, Hnbba and Gothrnn were three of the sea-kings who 
ought against St. Edmund. 


the triumph of Edmund's principles. Through the 
martyr's prayers not less than Alfred's persuasion, 
Gothrun embraced the faith of Christ. After baptism 
he ascended St. Edmund's throne, and in his person 
and in the Christian spirit of his government the cause 
of his martyred predecessor finally triumphed. 

On Edmund's return to Attleborough the nobles and The North P O IU 
people of Norfolk, with Humbert, bishop of Elmham, Edmund uTtift! 
at their head, formally acknowledged his sovereignty. 
This took place on Christmas day, 855. To quote 
Asser, " in the year of Our Lord's Incarnation, 855, 
Edmund, the most glorious king of the East Angles, 
began to reign on the birthday of Our Lord, in the 14th 
year of his age." But Edmund's authority did not 
extend much beyond the neighbourhood of Attle- 
borough. According to the custom of the English of 
that day, a prince had to deserve well of the people 
before they freely and unanimously elected him king. 
Edmund, who respected the traditions of his country- 
men, made no attempt to force his sovereignty upon 
them. He awaited God's time, remaining quietly in 
Norfolk for a whole year. 

He spent that period in retreat and meditation. He In retreat lu) 
now learnt by heart the psalter of David, the subject psalter of David, 
of his study in Saxony. The fact of his committing the 
psalter to memory was not extraordinary, for chroni- 
clers mention similar instances in the lives of other 
ancient saints. St. Erideswide, for example, when 
quite a child, proved " so apt a pupil that in five or 
seven months she learnt by heart the whole of David's 
psalter ; " and, indeed, what richer poetry could be given 
to a child, or what prayers more sublime to a Christian? 
The psalms are no mere human invention, but varied 
and soul-stirring aspirations, inspired by God Himself. 
Once learnt by heart, in days when books were scarce, 
they supplied the place of written prayers. They 



The East 
hesitate to 
elect Edmund. 

The Cbnrch 
takes up his 

comforted the aged in their loneliness. They relieved 
the monotony and gloom of the blind or dim of sight. 
They enabled the devout to join in the monastic choir. 
To a St. Bede or an Alcuin their verses, full of expres- 
sions of every feeling of joy, of gratitude, of fear 
of God's judgments, of trust in God's mercy, were a 
source of cheerfulness and consolation in hours of pain 
and languor. St. Edmund had a special reason for 
learning the psalter. He knew no higher example of 
kingly virtue than David, "the man according to 
God's own heart." But David's great soul lay hidden 
in his poetry, which Edmund therefore studied, in 
order to form himself on the model of Israel's 
famous king and prophet. Afterwards his biogra- 
phers pronounced him Deo acceptus, a man accept- 
able to God. They beheld as the motive power of 
his life the principles and piety of king David, 
which, during the first year of his reign, he had 
learnt under the tutorship of Bishop Humbert from 
the book of psalms. l 

Hitherto the South Folk of East Anglia had withheld 
their allegiance. The kingship in East England 
being elective rather than hereditary, they considered 
themselves free to choose any prince to rule over them, 
provided the royal blood flowed in his veins. Edmund, 
indeed, had a prior right from nearness of kin. He 
could also point to the will of the late sovereign. 
Other aspirants, however, better fitted by age to com- 
mand, started up to contest the throne, and defer the 
final election. 

But in spite of his tender years something in St. 
Edmund plainly betokened the ruler. Hence, the 

1 " Historia Eliensis " (Anglia Christiana Soc. Publ., p. 79). 
"The psalter used by the saint was religiously preserved by the 
monks of Bury-St. -Edmund 'p, and it is said to be still in St. James' 
Church library of that town." Butler, Nov. 20. 



Church took up his cause. St. Humbert, who had 
received the young prince on his landing at Hunstan- 
ton, still filled the episcopal chair of Elmham. l He 
now threw all his power and influence on the side of 
the young claimant, and a bishop's authority in the 
days of the heptarchy was of no little importance even 
in secular affairs. In virtue of his office, the nation 
regarded him as the king's spiritual father and chief 
adviser. His word like the king's did not require 
the confirmation of an oath. Xobles and people de- 
ferred to his superior wisdom and piety in every trial and 
feud. He attended the principal courts of justice. As 
the expounder of the civil law, he sat with the earldor- 
man in the shire-mote. As the upholder of God's law, 
he often stepped in between litigants whom no earthly 
power could have reconciled. In East Anglia St. 
Humbert held the position which bishops and arch- 
bishops held in the other English kingdoms. From 

1 The Bishops of East Anglia 
continued from page 17 : 

Bishops of Dunwich. 
ETTA, AECCE, Ecci, or 
HETA, consecrated in 673. 










who died or was martyred 
in 870. 

After 870 both sees were again 
successor of Weremund. 

after the division of the diocese* 

Bishops of North Elmham. 

called Eadwin, consecrated 

in 673. He died in 679. 
NORTHBERT, also called Rod- 


by Malmesbury, Netholacus. 

He was bishop in 731, when 

St. Bede finished his history. 
LANFERTH, called in Cottonian 

MS. Vesp. B. vi. Eanferd. 
/ETHELWULF occurs in 811. 
ALCH^ERD, called also Unferth. 
ALHERD, or Eatherd. 

HUFRED, living in 824. 

HUMBRICT, called also St. 

Humbert, consecrated in 820 

and martyred with king 

Edmund 870, in about the 

80th year of his age. 

united under Bishop Wilred, the 


him the young Prince Edmund sought help and advice. 
In his company the royal youth attended Ethelwulph's 
council at Winchester. Afterwards, on Edmund's re- 
turn to Norfolk, Bishop Humbert assembled the Wite- 
nagemote, or meeting of earldormen, thanes and higher 
clergy, at Attleborough, and induced them to acknow- 
ledge the boy-king's sovereignty. 

The friendship Under these circumstances sprang up that close and 
Edmund and lasting friendship between prince and bishop which 

Bishop Humbert 

forms so beautiful and touching a feature in St. 
Edmund's life. Their relations as pupil and master still 
more closely knit them together, for, judging from the 
custom of the time, St. Humbert acted not only as 
the young prince's spiritual father and temporal adviser, 
but also as his preceptor and his instructor in the 
divine psalmody. The bishop was thus brought daily 
into contact with the saintly boy, whose manly yet 
amiable disposition quickly won his affection and esteem. 
Edmund on his side loved and revered the kindly 
prelate with all the devotion of a boy's pure and im- 
passioned heart. This " inseparable " companionship of 
the fair boy-king and the venerable pontiff lasted in 
life and death. Together they ruled East Anglia, 
together they resisted its invaders, together they re- 
ceived the crown of martyrdom. What nobler models 
could youth or old age propose to themselves ! St. 
Humbert in his devotedness to a boy's interests, in his 
knowledge of a boy's nature and consideration for it is a 
pattern to all who have the charge of youth ; St. 
Edmund, on the other hand, in his respect for and 
confidence in his priest and master justly stands forth 
as the patron of the young and especially of students. 
Bishop Humbert In the beginning of their friendship St. Humbert 
Edmund's claim, succeeded, as stated above, in persuading the North 
Folk of East Anglia to acknowledge Prince Edmund's 
claim. Now that he had had ample opportunities of 


studying the character of his young sovereign, he 
determined to promote his cause among the South Folk 
also. Accordingly he sent messengers to the chief men 
of the whole kingdom calling upon them for the good 
of the realm to meet and discuss the question of a 
successor to King Offa. 

Some time elapsed before the bishop's summons 
reached the more distant parts of the country, and then 
the nation quickly responded. A rumour was abroad 
that the Danes threatened the eastern coasts, and the 
people anxiously sought for a leader in case of invasion. 
Another circumstance called for the speedy settlement 
of the question. Petty claimants all over the land 
began to exercise a tyrannical and unbridled power. 
The firm hand and strong arm of supreme authority 
could alone check their lawlessness or frustrate their 
pretensions. l Bishop Humbert thoroughly realized all 
this. As an argument in his mouth, it quickly con- 
'vinced the wise men of the realm of the necessity of a elect hn King! 
king. He had next to propose Prince Edmund as the 
proper object of their choice. By birth Edmund stood 
nearest to the throne. The will of the late king, to 
which the twenty thanes who had returned from the 
Holy Land bore witness, gave him a double right. He 
possessed, moreover, the signet ring, the symbol of 
supreme power, which the dying Offa had entrusted to 
him as his son and heir. Edmund's genuine and well 
known virtue, his high character and royal bearing no 
one could gainsay. The bishop failed not to press home 
these arguments. He anticipated the objections of those 
who desired an older and more soldier-like sovereign. 
Was not Edmund stalwart and valiant ? By braving 
the seas and commanding a successful expedition into 
the country, had he not proved himself capable of 
leading even veterans to battle and victory ? The 

1 See John Brompton, " Chron.," p. 748, quoted by Battely, p. 1 1. 


eloquence and reasoning of the venerable Humbert 
prevailed. l The assembly unanimously approved of 
King Offa's choice. " The pious youth," writes Matthew 
of Westminster, " was elected king by all the nobles and 
people of the kingdom, and compelled in spite of great 
resistance on his own part to assume the reins of 
government. 2 
Edmund makes . After this Edmund began a royal progress through 

a progress . J 

through his his kingdom, attended by the magnificent and numerous 

kingdom. J 

retinue which had accompanied him from Saxony. 
Everywhere his youth, his bright and charming manner, 
the halo of sanctity about him gained the hearts of 
his subjects, while his manly bearing, his deep and 
penetrating gaze, his wise and tempered words inspired 
a confidence which remained unshaken even in the 
most trying times. 
He is anointed F or the place of his coronation the newly elected 

and consecrated 

atsudtmry. king fixed upon Bures, more correctly spelt by Lydgate 
Bnrys, a town on the frontiers of Suffolk and Essex. 
Gaufridus speaks of it as a " royal town" situated " on 
the Stour, a river flowing most rapidly in summer and 
winter." Bures was in fact the southern capital of East 
Anglia as Attleborough was the northern ; hence its 
more common appellation of Sud-bury, or the South 
borough. 3 

1 " Curis et industria Humbert! Helmahamensis episcopi ad reg- 
num evectus est Edmundus." Propre de St. Sernin, A.D. 1672. 

2 See also Roger of Wendover (Bohn's edit., p. 186). St. Abbo 
writes : "Qui atavis regibus editus, cum bonis polleret moribus, 
omnium comprovincialium unanimi favore non tantum eligitur ex 
generis successione, quantum rapitur ut eis prseesset sceptrigera 
potestate." ("Vita Sti Edmi. R.," Migne's Patrol., vol. 130.) 

3 See Battely, p. 15, and Yates, p. 31. A marginal note in MS. 
4826 of the Harleian collection gives Sudbury or the South-borough 
as the town of St. Edmund's coronation. Camden, Leland and 
Hearn are likewise in favour of Sudbury in preference to Bury or 
Bures-St.-Mary. This latter town, though situated on the Stour, 
is as much in Essex as in East Anglia. It has never been a place 


The boy-king arrived in Sudbury towards the close 
of the year 856. There he probably spent Advent 
the forty days of waiting which, St. Bede affirms, the 
English Church set aside before Christmas as well as 
before Easter for special prayer and penance. Such a 
time accorded well with King Edmund's desire for quiet 
and meditation. He employed it in preparation, not 
only for Christmas, but also for his consecration and 
coronation, which he appointed to take place on that 
day. As the festival of Our Saviour's birth drew near, 
Edmund listened in the church to the great vesper 
antiphons of the season, applying to himself in a special 
way the lessons which they taught. The " Sapientia" 
"0 Wisdom " reminded him of King Solomon, who 
chose wisdom to reign in preference to all other gifts. 
The antiplion ended, " Veni ad docenduni nos viam 
prudentire," " Come and teach us the way of pru- 
dence." Edmund deeply felt his need of prudence 
in the difficult task of ruling. Again the Church sang : 
" Key of David and Sceptre of the House of Israel," 
" Orient Sun of Justice," " King of Nations our 
Law-giver ; " each title expressive of longing for the 
coming of Christ Our Lord found a corresponding echo 
in the young king's heart. Oh, how fervently lie 
besought the eternal Son of God to come and be the 
Sceptre of his reign, his Sun of justice, and the law- 
giver of his kingdom ! 

of great importance, much less a " royal town" or a residence of the 
East Anglian kings. Why any author should have suggested 
Bury-St. -Edmund's, Bury in Lancashire, or Burne in Lincolnshire, 
is unaccountable. Not one of them is situated on the river Stour. 
Bury-St. -Edmund's was Beodricsworth, not Bury, in the time of 
St. Edmund's first biographers. Bury in Lancashire has no con- 
nection at all with King Edmund of East Anglia. Burne is 
evidently a copyist's blunder. Gaufridus' statement is so explicit 
that there can be no doubt that Sudbury was the town of St. 
Edmund's coronation. 


Sfs&T Day> At last Christmas day, 856, dawned. The choir 
chanted the night song ; and after each nocturn a cleric 
removed one of the three coverings of the altar, first 
the violet or black, then the red, and lastly the white. 
The three masses of Christmas day began, solemnized 
by the English Church, according to St. Gregory the 
Great, 1 in honour of the three comings of Christ, His 
coming into this world in human flesh, His coming in 
spirit into our souls, and His coming in glory and 
majesty at the last day. Crowds of people attended 
each mass. Then they joined the eager spectators who 
in spite of the bleak weather thronged the town. The 
boats fringing the river banks, the din of voices, the 
tramp of feet, the streets lined with people all pro- 
claimed the nation's interest in its sovereign's corona- 
tion. And now the time draws near for the third 
mass, at which Bishop Humbert will anoint and crown 
the king. All along the route from the palace to the 
church the "merry and jovial" East Anglians wait 
good-lmmouredly for the procession to pass. 

The coronation Soon there issue forth from the dim precincts of the 


church boys in white with smoking censers and the 
vase of holy water ; then others bearing* aloft Christ's 
rood, the holy cross, and carrying burning lights to 
do it honour. A long line of white-robed priests follows, 
and last comes the saintly pontiff, crozier in hand, 
blessing the kneeling people. Through the streets, 
clean swept and strewn with reeds or tapestry, the 
procession makes its way to the king's lodgings, sing- 
ing the Eoman chant which Felix and Sigebert first 
taught the people. Arrived in the royal presence, the 
procession forms again. Before the king a thane 
walks bearing the golden sceptre, and then another with 
the rod of justice ; next a throng of priests and monks ; 
nobles follow carrying unsheathed swords, the royal 

1 8th Homily. 


insignia, the coronation robes and the crown of gold 
and precious stones ; last of all, amidst a crowd of 
warriors and thanes, and of wise men and earldormen, 
and of freemen with flowing hair, and of serfs newly 
freed, walk the boy-king and the aged bishop side by 
side under a silken canopy held aloft on the spears of 
the four bravest knights of East Anglia. 

The procession reaches the church, which was builr, The procession 

reaches the 

as St. Bennet s masons built Wearmoutn and Jarrow, in church, 
stone rough hewn, with walls of great thickness, semi- 
circular arches and massive columns. Each royal 
domain and even the lands of earldormen and thanes 
rejoiced in many such churches. 1 The kings of East 
Anglia from the time of St. Eorpwald, St. Sigebert and 
St. Annas, to the time of St. Ethelbert and Offa 
imitating the example of the kings of North umbria 
and Wessex, raised temples as worthy as possible 
of the (rod whom they adored. Their subjects, too, 
moved by what they heard or witnessed of the solem- 
nity of worship in Koine, despising all considerations 
of labour and expense, vied with each other in erect- 
ing churches in which no ornament or decoration 
they knew of should be wanting. Walls of polished 
masonry and roofs of lead took the place of oaken 
planks covered with reeds and straw. Lofty towers 
added dignity and majesty to the building, windows 
of glass, to the astonishment of the still half-savage 
multitude, admitted light yet excluded wind and rain. 
Rough and wanting perhaps in symmetry of form, the winch is spien- 
East Anglian church lacked to-day nothing in richness 
and grandeur. The interior, washed with lime, rivalled 
the fresh fallen snow in whiteness. The walls dis- 
played in all magnificence the most valuable spoils 
taken from the Mercians in the late wars. Curtains 

1 See St. Bede "Hist. Eccles.," bk. iii. c. 22 and 30; bk. v. c. 
20 and 45. 


of silk, pictures of Our Lord's miracles, paintings of 
the Blessed Mother of God and of the twelve Apostles 
hung around. The altar, always profusely decorated, 
sparkled on this occasion with gold and gems. A 
lofty crucifix surmounted it, and above all hung the 
pliarus, filled with rows of lamps which shed their 
mellow light over the sanctuary, making the dim nave 
and aisles look dimmer in the wintry mist. Here and 
there, suspended from ceiling and arch, burning censers 
filled the sanctuary and nave with perfume. Arch- 
bishop Theodore and Abbot Adrian had introduced the 
organ from Italy, and, as the royal procession left 
the open air and entered the dark portico which 
covered the doorway, the " thousand voices of the 
organ " and the humbler sound of the harp pealed 
through the building. Meanwhile the joy-bells, such as 
Cumeneas, abbot of lona, wrote of, rang out over the 
country around. 1 So priest and people conducted their 
young prince to the church, the sound of their chant 
growing louder and louder and filling the church as 
the singers entered and grouped themselves within the 
precincts of the sanctuary. 

Edmund makes Arrived at the altar, the boy-king kneels before the 
mandate, mitred pontiff, and with hands upon the book of 
gospels, written may-be like St. Wilfrid's in letters 
of gold upon a purple ground, and bound in gold and 
precious stones, solemnly pronounces the three man- 
dates still preserved in the English coronation service. 
They are a promise on the part of the king and at the 
same time a proclamation to his subjects, a species of 
compact between monarch and people, ratified by the 
Church's blessing. " In the name of the Holy Trinity," 
sweet and clear sounds the young king's voice, " in all 
the days of my life let God's Church and all Christian 

1 See Lingard's "Anglo-Saxon Church," vol. ii. p. 369, 1st edit. 


folk be held in peace and honour and reverence." All 
around answer : " Amen." " Let all rapine and every 
sort of iniquity be interdicted to all classes of my 
subjects." The same solemn " Amen " ratifies the 
second mandate. "Justice and mercy shall be ob- 
served in all judgments, that the great and merciful 
God may of His everlasting mercy forgive us all." 
Again bishop and thanes and priests and all the voices 
of that great assembly answer ".Amen." Tor a 
memorial they place a copy of these solemn promises 
upon the altar. 1 

Then began the celestial and mysterious sacrifice And assists at 

Christ's Mass. 

wherein the elements of the bread and wine are, 
through the unutterable " hallowing of the Spirit, made 
to pass into the mystery of Christ's Ilesh and Blood." 2 
To-day every vessel used in this sacred action is of 
gold or silver. Richly embroidered and jewelled vest- 
ments clothe the ministers at the altar. The liturgy is 
the old liturgy brought to the island by St. Augustine, 
in essentials differing nothing from that of liome, the 
mother and ruler of all the Churches, and familiar to 
the Catholic of the present day. Like every rite of 
holy Church, the solemn function speaks of another 
land and of another world, even of heaven and of the 
invisible angels. The language is not the language of 
every day, but the holy Latin tongue of God's kingdom 
of saints and martyrs. The sacred ministers, no longer 
of the earth, apparelled in white raiments flowing and 
graceful, ascend and descend around the altar like 
the angels in Jacob's vision. Truly the whole scene 
reveals the nearness of Him to whom the angels are 
ministering spirits. 

1 In some copies of Archbishop Egbert's Pontifical these three 
mandata are given at the end of the coronation ceremony. Martene 
and Lingard both put them at the beginning. Collectively they 
are spoken of as the " prinmm mandatum regis ad populum." 
2 See Venerable Bede's " Horn, in Epiphan." 


anoints "T lbert After tlie g s P el > which told of the divine and human 
young kin s , generations of the King of kings, 1 the pontiff pro- 
nounced a blessing over the kneeling prince. Imme- 
diately the chanters sang the antiphon, " Unxerunt 
Salomon." " They anointed Solomon," 2 following it 
up with the psalm, "Domine in virtiite tua Iretabitur rex," 
" In Thy strength, Lord, the king shall joy ; and in 
Thy salvation he shall rejoice exceedingly." Meanwhile 
the bishop poured the horn of oil on the boy-king's 
head and breast and arms : on his head to signify the 
glory of the kingship ; on his breast to signify the 
strength of the warrior ; on his arms to signify the 
necessity of working with knowledge and wisdom for 
his people. At each anointing the venerable pontiff 
prayed that the Almighty would sanctify this youth 
by the unction of oil, as He sanctified His servant 
Aaron and His priests and kings and prophets to 
rule over His people Israel. And all the time the 
choir sang the prophetic verses of the twentieth psalm : 

" Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast 
not withholden from him the will of his lips. 

"For Thou hast prevented him with sweetness. Thou 
hast set on his head a crown of precious stones . . 

"Glory and great beauty shall Thou lay upon him. 

" Thou shalt give him to be a blessing for ever 
and ever . . . For the king hopeth in the Lord." 
An.i clothes him '^ ie anointing finished, Edmund, seated on his 
robes!' ' throne, assumed the royal robes. The venerable 

bishop clothed him in tunic and dalmatic, the vest- 
ments of the sacred ministers of the altar, reciting at 

1 John i. There was a special mass for the crowning of kings, 
but probably, according to the immemorial custom of the Church, 
only a commemoration was made from it on so great a feast. 

- 3 Kings i. 39, and Ant. Mag. Dom. vii. post Pent. : "They 
anointed Solomon king, in Gabon, Sadoc the priest and Nathan 
the prophet, and going up they said rejoicing, The king live 
for ever." 


the same time the prayers, to which priests and people 
answered, " Amen." Two thanes, approaching, knelt 
and put sandals on the king's feet ; others threw over 
his shoulders the royal mantle ; then the bishop, 
attended by the chief nobles, put into his hands the 
golden sceptre of mercy and the iron rod of justice, 
both emblematic of the office of judge. Next, to remind 
him of his duties as knight and warrior, attendants 
handed him the naked sword, by which to strike down 
the rebel and the oppressor, and put on his head the 
helmet, the symbol of the divine protection. Sceptres 
of gold and iron, sword and helmet, are now laid aside, 
and the king proceeds to the altar to receive the ring 
of righteousness and the crown. 1 At this point, Bishop 
Humbert earnestly exhorts the young prince not to 
accept the last emblems of kingly power and office, 
unless he is resolved to observe what the Church now 
so publicly and solemnly ratifies. Edmund answers 
that boy though he is, by the grace of God he will 
fulfil all the duties of a good king. His after his- 
tory will show how faithfully, even by the sacrifice of 
his life, he kept the promises of his coronation day. 

The prince himself then took the crown from the The coronation. 
altar and handed it to the pontiff. St. Humbert, with- 
out hesitation, put it upon the boy-king's head, saying 
' May God crown thee with the crown of glory, with 
the honour of justice, with the power of strength, 
that by our blessing, with strong faith and abundant 
fruit of good works, thou mayest obtain the crown of 

1 Lydgate writes : 

"The ryche crowne was set on his lied, 
To rewle the peple thorugh his noblesse, 
And held the swerd to kepe hem undir dreed 
That wolde be wrong, thepoore peple oppresse. 
The sceptre of pees, the ryng of ryghtwysnesse, 
Conserve a kyng in his estat most strong." 





The mass 

The king's 
offering in the 

an everlasting kingdom, by His gracious gift whose 
kingdom remains for ever and ever." 

With crown on head, with the sceptre of peace placed 
once more in his right hand and the rod of iron in his 
left, with incense burning before him, King Edmund 
with firm step walks to his throne and takes possession 
of it. Pontiff and sacred ministers, knights and thanes 
accompany him. Thrice the bishop and his assistants, 
standing before the throne, entone the " Long live the 
king," and thrice thanes, knights and people take it up ; 
thrice they all repeat the confirmatory, " Amen, amen, 
amen," and then approach to receive their sovereign's 
kiss. Hardly had the last thane received the royal 
embrace, when the voice of the pontiff again prayed 
aloud that God, the Author of Eternity, the Leader of 
the heavenly hosts, the Vanquisher of all His enemies, 
would bless His servant Edmund, whose head was. 
humbly bent in lowly worship before Him, would shed 
His grace on the newly crowned, and keep him in 
health and happiness during his earthly sojourn. 

The bishop now continues the holy sacrifice. He 
offers the offldc, or white round loaf of unleavened 
bread, which has been baked under the very eye of 
a priest. The sacred ministers meanwhile pour wine 
through a strainer into a chalice, and mingle with the 
wine a few drops of clearest water to signify God's 
union with our nature. The pontiff holds aloft the 
chalice also, afterwards making with it the sign of 
the cross over the place where it is to rest, a rite 
emblematic of the laying of Christ upon the cross. 

Here the king left his throne for the foot of the altar, 
in order to make his Christmas and coronation offering. 
In Saxon England the oblations of the faithful on 
Christmas day differed at each mass. At the mid- 
night solemnity they offered lights emblems of that 
true lisht which on this nidit first shone in tha 


darkness. At the mass at dawn of day they gave 
bread, because Christ on Christmas day became our 
bread, our source of life, in Bethlehem, which signifies 
the House of Bread. At the mass in the middle of the 
day they offered money, to signify that the Eternal 
Son became united to our nature as an image is 
impressed upon a coin. King Edmund, therefore, 
kneeling on the steps of the altar, made the offering to 
the bishop of a large coin of purest gold, the same 
being the usual offering at a coronation. 

The mass proceeds. The choirs sing the " ter sanctus." g^g 
The celebrant beseeches the most clement Father, 
through His Son Jesus Christ, to bless and accept the 
unspotted gifts ; he makes the remembrance of the 
living and of the dead ; invokes the saints ; prays for 
the king in preface and canon. l The many mystic 
signs of the cross are formed, the bread and chalice 
consecrated, and offered to Him to Whom alone is all 
honour and glory. Lastly the pontiff breaks the Host 
and prepares to eat the heavenly bread and to drink 
of the chalice of salvation. As the celebration of the 
sacred mysteries thus drew to an end, the king 
approached the altar to receive the Holy Housel, " the 
saving victim of the Lord's Body and Blood." 2 As he 
knelt at the foot of the altar, the venerable pontiff 
placed upon his tongue the sacred Host, and put to his 
royal lips the chalice of Christ's Blood : " May the 
Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ guard and 
protect thee," said the bishop. Both king and pontiff 
added, " Deo gratias." 

Quickly now they finish the mass. Quickly the S s ? eremony 
crowds hasten from the church to await outside the 

1 Egbert's Pontifical, besides assigning a special collect, secret, 
and post communion for the mass at a king's consecration, also 
assigned a place in both the preface and canon for the sovereign's 


2 St. Bede. 


royal procession. With a magnificent retinue the 
newly crowned sovereign comes forth and passes in 
triumphal procession through the streets amidst the 
acclamations of the people, lleturning to the church, 
he puts off his royal robes, assumes lighter ones, and 
then proceeds to his palace. A banquet closes the 
day. Thus, " in the year of our Lord's incarnation 
856," writes a contemporary, 1 "Humbert, bishop of 
the East Angles, anointed with oil and consecrated 
as king the glorious Edmund, with much rejoicing 
and great honour," in the royal town of Sudbury, 
" in which at that time was the royal seat, in the 
fifteenth year of his age, on a Friday, it being Christ- 
mas day." 

1 Asser, Bohn's edit., p. 50. 



St, Edmund's Sovereignty His Character and Rule. 

Authorities St Abbo's "Vita et Passio Sti. Edmundi" is the most ancient and 
valuable narrative illustrating St. Edmund's position in the England of his 
day and his character and influence in East Anglia. At least thirty manu- 
script copies of this important " Vita" exist. The British Museum possesses 
sixteen, the Oxford libraries six, Cambridge one. Several are lodged in the 
Royal Library at Paris. Copenhagen, Gotha and Vienna possess one each. 
The cathedral library of Lucca (Bibl. Canon.) preserves two not mentioned by 
Hardy, and the initial letter of one of them contains a portrait of St. Edmund. 
The Lives of St. Edmund by Osbert de Clare and Hermanns are also 
transcripts of St. Abbo's work with a few verbal alterations. Of St. 
Abbo's compositions in honour of the royal martyr, Bodl. Digby 100 
veil, small folio xiii. cent, is certainly the most interesting. It begins 
with the letter to St. Dunstan, the life and passion of St. Edmund follows, 
then come the antiphon " Ave Rex Anglor in " set to music, and the 
proper office for St. Edmund's feast. The antiphons of the office, all set to 
chant, are most touchingly worded, and the lessons full of devotion and feeling. 
St. Abbo's ."Vita et Passio Sti. Edmundi" remained imprinted till the 
Itith cent., when the Carthusian Suiius brought it out among his Vitas 
Sanctorum (Nov. 20, vol. iv. 440) where, contrary to his usual practice, he 
does not alter the style, considering it sufficiently good. In fact, in spite of one 
or two middle age expressions, St. Abbo wrote in a style worthy of the praise of 
Mabillon. Remarkable for his realistic expressions, lie charmingly displays his 
talent for exposition throughout his works. It is to be hoped that his minute- 
ness of detail will lose none of its charm by being occasionally put into an 
English dress. Migne also prints Abbo's Life of St. Edmund in his Latin 
Patrology, torn. 139, and a translation of it occurs in a work entitled "Vies 
de plusieurs saints illustres des divers siecles," by Arnand d'Andilly. Lastly 
Arnold edits it for the Rolls Series in his " Memorials of St. Edmund's Abbey," 
vol. i. St. Abbo seems to have also written a life of St. Edward the King and 
Martyr, and an account of the translation of St. Benedict's relics to Fleury. 

This illustrious biographer of St. Edmund was one of the most enlightened 
and active-minded men of his age. From his Life by his disciple Aiinoiu (Migne 
torn, cxxxix. and from the exhaustive " Histoire de Saint Abbon " (LecofTre fils 
et Cie, Paris) by Abbe Pardiac, we learn that Abbo was born at Orleans about 
the year 940. His parents offered him in his childhood to St. Benedict, and 
saw him receive the monastic cowl in the famous abbey of Fleury-sur-Loire. 
Fleury was then closely connected with England. From it the new monastic 
advance initiated by St. Dunstan received all its vigour; thither St. Ethel- 
wold of Winchester sent his disciple Osgar to imbibe the true Benedictine 
spirit, and to study in its famous school. St. Odo, archbishop of Canterbury, 
brought over from Fleury a body of Benedictines to assist him in the govern- 
ment of his diocese. St. Oswald, bishop of Worcester and archbishop of 
York, when a young man, took the habit in its sanctuary and afterwards 
applied there for monks to start Ramsey abbey. In answer to his appeal 
Germanus came as abbot, and St. Abbo, who had studied both at Ilheims and 
Paris, who had superintended the school at Fleury, and was already renowned 
for his works on mathematics, liturgy, history, grammar and poetry, came to 
organise the abbey school. Not only at Ramsey, but also at Canterbury, York, 
Cambridge and St. Edmund's Bury, Abbo founded schools. At St. Edmund's 
Bury he heard the history of St. Edmund and gained his great devotion to him. 
At Canterbury he again heard the narrative from his intimate friend St. 
Dunstan. St. Dunstan himself heard the story of the. royal martyr's life and 
martyrdom when a young favourite at court, from an old man bent and decrepit, 
who asserted on oath that he was St. Edmund's sword-bearer on the day of 
the holy martyr's death, and who related it as an eye-witness " with simplicity 


and full of faith" to the glorious King Athelstan (A.D. 925). In later times 
Archbishop Dunstan often repeated the narrative, and once related it with 
tears in his eyes to Aelfstan, bishop of Rochester, to the Abbot of Malmesbury, 
St. Abboand others. At the request of the monks of Ramsey Abbo committed 
the narrative to writing. St. Abbo is therefore a reliable authority. In order to 
protect himself against all inaccuracies, he took the precaution of sending his 
manuscript to " his holiness," tua sanctitas, St. Dunstan, praying him to 
correct anything contrary to historical truth. Yates, however, in his History 
of Bury (p. 25) seems to think that St. Abbo's work is of little value, since he 
did not see St. Dunstan till A.D. 9S5, i.e. 50 years after the archbishop had 
heard the history of St. Edmund. The prelate himself did not hear the 
narrative till CO years after it happened, and ihen from a man of an age when 
the memory is defective and treacherous. Yates, besides being incorrect in his 
statements, forgets that other eye-witnesses, independent of the old sword- 
bearer, often related the same facts. Again, St. Abboand even St. Dunstan 
when at St. Edmund's Bury, could, and probably did, consult the records kept 
by the contemporary guardians of St. Edmund's shrine who treasured up every 
incident in the life of their royal patron. Abbo wrote his "Life and Passion of St. 
Edmund " in the 7th year of King Ethelred's reign, i.e. A.D. 085. On leaving 
England he became Abbot of Fleury. In 1004 lie undertook the reform of the 
monastery of Reole, where he met his death, Nov. 13 of the same year, 
through a deep spear-thrust in the left arm which he received in a rising of the 
Gascons against the French. The church at Keole still honours him as its patron. 
Besides Abbe Pardiac's book, see for St. Abbo's Life and works, Mabillon's 
" Acta Sanct. Ord. Bened.," vol. xiii. 35. Migne's Latin Patrol, vol. 139, 
the introduction to the " Memorials of St. Edmund's Abbey," p. xxii. 

The "VitaSancti Edmundi Regis etMartyris" MS. Ilarl. 2S02 a large xii. 
cent, folio volume, also contains f. 226 b. useful matter on St. Edmund's 
character and reign. The author of this piece has not been ascertained. It 
begins, " Gloriosus Rex Edmundus ex-antiquorum Saxonum nobili prosapia 
oriundus," and ends, " Ad laudem Domini nostri Jesu Christ!, cui est honor 
et gloria in secula. Amen." 

Lydgate still continues useful, and Alban Butler and Dom Cressy, O.S.B. 
both describe in short the character of St. Edmund's rule.] 

st. Edmund's CiiEONiCLERS of St. Edmund's life differ with regard 

age on his 

accession to the to his age on coming to the throne and the subsequent 


events of his reign. Their disagreement chiefly arises 
from a difference in the dates from which they start. 
Some, for instance, begin the young king's reign from 
the death of King Offa, others from the landing at 
Hunstanton, from the election at Attleborough, or 
from the royal consecration at Sudbury. Hence one 
records that Edmund ascended the throne in his thir- 
teenth year, another places that event in his fourteenth 
or fifteenth year, and William of Malmesbury strangely 
puts it in the saint's sixteenth year. Asser, a con- 
temporary writer, mentions two accessions of St. 
Edmund, but removes all ambiguity by giving the 
dates and circumstances of both. Edmund, he says, 
began his reign in his fourteenth year, on Christmas 
day, 855, a few weeks after his return from the court 
of Ethelwulph; and the Christmas following, in the 
fifteenth year of his age, Bishop Humbert anointed 
and crowned him king of the whole country. Had 


other writers been as explicit as Asser, no confusion 
could have arisen with regard to St. Edmund's age or 
the date of his accession. 

Edmund once king becomes a prominent figure in the st. Eiimumi' 


history of his day. The few scanty records of his 
country which have survived treat of him as the great- 
est of East Anglian sovereigns. Malmesbury and 
William of Croyland, while lamenting a century's 
anarchy and disorder previous to St. Edmund, hail his 
accession as the beginning of a new era. With a 
strong hand, writes Simeon of Durham, Edmund held 
the supreme power. Records which hardly meant to 
speak of him describe his rule as that of no ordinary 
petty sovereign, but worthy to rank with Ina's, Offa's, 
Egbert's or Alfred's in the annals of our country. The 
.Danish invaders, recognising him as the most redoubt- 
able of the English kings, brought all their force 
to bear against his kingdom. His sturdy resistance 
and final victory on their first landing, and his alliance 
with Mercia under the walls of Nottingham more than 
ever convinced them of the absolute necessity of subdu- 
ing the defender of East Anglia before making any 
attack on Wessex or Mercia. Having subjugated 
Edmund, they hoped to find the rest of England an 
easy conquest. What the nation thought of the valour 
of Edmund's life the exceptional worship paid to him 
after death testifies. Other kings fell victims to the 
Danish sword, but neither their holiness nor their 
prowess merited the distinction which England bes- 
towed on the royal martyr of East Anglia. 

Some writers speak of St. Edmund as a tributary and ^V 
dependent sovereign. The contrary was the case. 
Simeon of Durham 1 and Roger of Hovedon, while 
stating the fact that " Rex Edmundus ipsis temporibus 
regnavit super omnia regna orientalium" "In those days 
1 Surtecs Publ., p. 50, no. 51. 


Kinrj Edmund ruled over the whole of East Anglia" 
make no mention of his subordination to any other 
sovereign. Lydgate unhesitatingly asserts that "he 
had of Estyngland holly the governance." And Matthew 
of Westminster, 1 as well as Florence of Worcester, 2 
speak of his succeeding to the supreme power. Add to 
this the remarkable omission of East Anglia in the con- 
temporary lists of kingdoms tributary to Ethelwulph 
of Wessex. That monarch, on succeeding his father 
Egbert as king of England, made over to his sou 
Athelstan the provinces of Kent, Essex and Sussex. 
On the death of Athelstan he resumed the government 
of Kent, Sussex and Essex, and resigned the western 
portion of his kingdom in favour of his second son King 
Ethelbald. In his last testament he bequeathed Essex 
Kent, Sussex and Surrey to his third son Ethelbert. 
In none of these instances do the contemporary chroni- 
clers mention East Anglia. 3 King Edmund had indeed 
graced the court of Ethelwulph on the memorable 5th 
of November, A.D. 855, but neither Ethelwulph nor his 
sons treated him as an under-king. His claim to East 
Anglia rested on his Uffing blood and the choice of the 
people. There is no record of any neighbouring power 
supporting him. At his consecration and coronation 
at Suclbury he took no oath to a suzerain, As inde- 
pendent of Wessex as Xorthumbria was, lie ruled a 
traditionally independent people. Under this impres- 
sion the Danes treated with him. He professed to 
them that he had been consecrated by God in the 
solemn rite of coronation to rule and guide his people, 

1 Bohn's edit, vol. i. p. 404, A.D. 855. 

- "Monumenta Historica Brittanica," vol. i. p. 547, 552. 
3 See Asser's "Life of Alfred," A.D. 855. Ethehverd's Cliron., 
bk. v. chap. i. collated with the Angl. Saxon Chron. A.D. 855. See 
also Matt, of Westminster, A.D. 861, and Lingard's Hist, of England, 
vol. i. A.D. 836 et seq. on the successors of Egbert. 


arid to God only was he tributary. To no over-king 
would he do homage. In fact, no English kingdom 
demanded his allegiance. Northumbria was too torn 
with dissensions to attempt it. Mercia had tried and 
failed. Ethelwnlph and his sons found their own 
frontiers threatened with bands of sea-pirates, and had 
no wish to assert supremacy over a kingdom which 
might rival their own. They preferred to leave the 
long coast-line of East Anglia, the first to greet the 
pirates fresh from the North, to its brave king and 
his equally brave subjects. 

St. Edmund worthily filled the position which Divine m* 
Providence assigned to him. His personal appearance 
showed him every inch a king. From birth to man- 
hood nature had favoured him with her gifts. His face 
was young but manly, his complexion fair and fresh, 
his forehead lofty, his hair light and flowing. A some- 
what prominent nose enhanced rather than marred his 
beauty, and eyes deep and blue beamed with the joy 
of a soul which saw in every event of life the wisdom 
and clemency of Clod. Tall of stature, of firm and sym- 
metrical build, 1 he possessed before he reached maturity, 
"the strength and robustness," say the old Sarum 
lessons, " of one in the flower of his age." The majesty 
of his mien impressed all who beheld him. " Imperium 
tenebat," writes the Ely Chronicler, 2 speaking rather 
of his personal bearing than of his mode of government; 
and Abbo pictures him noble and stately as an 
emperor, but with a serenity of disposition which gave 
a grace to his every speech and action. 

In his private life Edmund observed the utmost His private 
simplicity. His unassuming manner charmed all who 
came in contact with him. He was affable and cour- 

1 Roger of Wendover, Bohn's edit., vol. i. p. 195. 
' Historia Elieusis," Anglia Christiana Society, p. 79. 


teous to the poorest and the lowliest. l However tried or 
occupied, he never lost his equanimity or his kindly 
sympathy for others. Yet with his fellow princes as 
with his own thanes his superiority asserted itself, not 
by outward haughtiness, but by an inherent gentleness 
which none could resist. His parents had educated 
him to become a saint and a martyr rather than a 
prince of the world. Throughout his career, but 
especially in his less public life, this early training 
showed itself in an ardent striving to form his soul for 
God, and in an unflinching resoluteness in the perfor- 
mance of duty. ' Toto conamine virtutis arripuit gra- 
dum," " with all his miyht he strove after virtue" writes 
his earliest biographer. 2 His chaste and celibate life is 
a standing proof of his high spiritual perfection. In his 
daily conduct he guided himself by the commands and 
will of God, whom alone he desired to please, and in 
this he swerved " neither to the right nor to the left, 
either by extolling himself for his merits or by suc- 
cumbing to human frailty. 3 All day long, at home 
and abroad, his mind was fixed on God. "Heaven- 
ward soared his soul," sings the poet of his life. 
He was " ever adoring God," exclaims Simeon of 
Durham. And, in order that the distracting occupa- 
tions of his office might not gradually weaken this 
union with his Creator, the saintly king frequently 
withdrew to some country retreat, there to refresh 
his soul with meditations and pious exercises. By this 
means he maintained the high tone and vigour of his 
spiritual life. 
HIS love for Edmund took great delight in field sports and all out- 

lield sports. 

door exercises. He threw into them all the earnestness 

1 " Erat omnibus blando eloquio atfabilis, hunrilitatis gratia 
prceclarus, et inter suos coevos mirabili mansuetudine residebat 
dominus absque ullo fastu superbiiB." St. Abbo. 

2 St. Abbo. 3 MS. Harl. 2802. 


of his nature. The hunting and hawking, however, of 
his leisure hours were with him no mere purposeless 
killing of time. Besides being often the alternative 
of idleness, of which, says one of his biographers, he was 
" the declared enemy," these recreations prepared him 
for other duties. The young king, like the ancient 
Cyrus, used them to acquire boldness, coolness and 
strategy in the field, and thus to inspire even veteran 
warriors with confidence in his leadership. 

The virtues of his private life made Edmund a most HIS character 
successful ruler. In the beginning of his reign he put 
himself under the spiritual guidance of St. Humbert, 
to whom, next to God, he mainly owed his humility, his 
purity and his Christlike affability. With this training 
and that of Sigentius, his father's old adviser, he grew 
up into the model of a perfect prince. Of all his 
public virtues a winning graciousness of manner chiefly 
distinguished him. According to Eichard of Ciren- 
cester, 1 he always had before his eyes the words of 
Ecclesiasticusj " Have they made thee ruler ? be net 
lifted up ; be among them as one of them." 2 At the 
same time he administered justice with a firm hand, 
taking the law of God as the unerring standard of 
right and wrong. Before giving judgment he would 
examine with his own eyes and hear with his own 
ears. Thus, with dovelike simplicity, yet with the 
prudence of the serpent, he frustrated the evil designs 
of flatterers and informers. In matters of importance 
he invariably took counsel of others. Like Solomon, 
a special child of wisdom, he had won a throne by his 
discretion and prudence, but he did not on that account 
think himself capable of governing his dominions, 
narrow though their limits, without the aid of others. 
He exemplified throughout his reign the inspired 

1 Rolls Publ., vol. i. p. 331 ct seq. - Ecclus. xxii. 1. 


proverb, " He that is wise hearkeneth unto counsels." l 
Sfc - Edmund's desire to grant the just demands of 
even the poorest of his subjects brought him early in 
his reign in conflict with the rough spirits whom the 
late unsettled state of affairs had multiplied through- 
out the land. King Offa had successfully repressed the 
lawlessness and disorder consequent on the Mercian 
wars. In his later years, however, Offa had been weak 
and infirm. For three years at least he had been absent 
from the kingdom, and no supreme ruler had taken 
his place. Consequently, oppression of the poor, 
open murder and rapine, the tyranny of the strong 
over the weak had again become the order of the 
day. Edmund boldly attacked the evil. So well 
had he learnt the lesson of his coronation, that, 
while cherishing his quiet and obedient subjects 
with the sceptre of peace, he hesitated not to un- 
sheath the sword of justice and to wield the rod of 
iron against the wild and rebellious. " Benign to the 
submissive," Malmesbury writes of him, " severe to the 
rebellious." Yet he acted with a tact that gained the 
love and veneration of all. In the rough times in 
which he lived, several kings devoted to duty lost their 
lives in opposing lawlessness and injustice. Such had 
been the fate of his predecessor St. Eorpwald, and later 
on his namesake King Edmund I. fell by the dagger of 
an outlaw. If St. Edmund was anything he was an 
" upholder of the law of God " " divince Icgis apprime 
tcnax," a most impartial administrator of justice, a 
fearless guardian of the happiness and prosperity of his 
people ; yet no discontented subject raised a hand 
against him in vengeance or hate. Wrong-doers suffered 
from the firmness and resolution, hard and unflinching 
as a rock, with which he punished them ; but his 

1 Proverbs xii. 15. 


imimpassioned manner and the kindness with which he 
tempered his severity conciliated the hardest criminal. 1 

In his work of reform St. Edmund called in the help * Edmund ar. 

* the Church. 

of the Church. Wise policy dictated the employment 
of the Church's individual care and training of his 
subjects as a power for good ; but the young king's 
appreciation of the Church and its priesthood was not 
mere policy, lleligion and piety had become part and 
parcel of his nature. " He was most sincerely devoted 
to the Christian faith," writes St. Abbo. His earnest- 
ness nowhere more conspicuously displayed itself than 
in his endeavour to repair the havoc of the Mercians 
in church and monastery. Wherever his predecessor 
had left unrestored a broken altar or a dismantled 
cloister, Edmund hastened to build it up again. The 
clergy he supplied with sufficient and even abundant 
means for the becoming performance of the divine 
service, at the same time furthering among them to 
the best of his power that spirit of ecclesiastical 
discipline and piety which the troubles of the 
time had so seriously impaired. While, however, 
no one had a loftier idea than King Edmund of 
the Church's authority, or the influence it should 
exert in a kingdom, his frank and candid nature re- 
volted from anything like hypocrisy or dissimulation, 
and the insincere could never count on his sympathy 
or protection. The annals of his country proclaim him 
" conspicuous in Christ and in his Church," 2 the "Fidei 
Christianae cultor," " the promoter of the faith of 
Christ " z "He was raised up by God," exclaims St. 
Abbo in the office for his feast, " to be the defender of 
His Church." Even beyond the limits of his own king- 

1 -'Divinae legis apprime teoax, et subclitorum felicitatis studiosis- 
simus, omnium sibi amorem ac venerationem conciliavit," Harl. 
MS. 2802. 

2 Harl. MS. 2S02. 3 Hist. Eliensis, Angl. Christiana Soc., p. 79. 


dom lie advanced the cause of God and religion. 
By his presence at the council of Winchester he sup- 
ported its charter of gifts to the monks and clergy ; 
and later on under the walls of Nottingham he 
pleaded with his brother monarchs for the abbey of 
Croyland. Finally, in defence of the altar and for the 
faith of Christ he generously laid down his life, 
st. Edmund's The court of this Christian king presented a pattern 


to princes. At early dawn the king and his attendants 
paid their first homage to their common Master and 
Lord by assisting at the holy sacrifice. During the 
day the law of God ruled the household. Even rough 
warriors, moved by the example of their youthful 
sovereign, made it their first endeavour to give God due 
reverence. Xo loud voice of rioting or dissipation 
disturbed the royal halls. No oath or quarrel broke the 
harmony in its precincts, for all feared the king's 
displeasure as much as they valued his friendship. 
Through Edmund's influence, love of truth, generosity 
to the needv, gentleness, moderation of language 

/ * o o o 

reigned in the palace. The words of Venerable Bede 
admirably describe the East Anglians under St. 
Edmund's government. "Departing from the rude 
and boorish manners of their ancestors," he writes, 
"they began to be exceedingly civilized and polite." 
So, when some of them settled in Hunstanton, the 
name of the place memorialized their gentleness of 
temper no less than their bravery. The holy king 
according to Eoger of Wendover, 1 instructed his 
attendants in every grace of speech and behaviour ; 
and, in order to preserve the internal tranquillity of his 
kingdom and defend it, if necessary, from external 
attacks, he trained all his thanes in strict military 
discipline. With one stroke of the pen Matthew of 
Westminster 2 gives a picture of St. Edmund's court 

1 Bolm's edit., p. 193. 2 Bolm's edit., vol. i. p. 412. 


on the occasion of the Danish chief Lothbroc's intro- 
duction to it. " Lothbroc was much pleased," he 
writes, " by the graciousness of manner of King 
Edmund, and by the admirable state of his military 
discipline, and by the numerous retinue of servants 
who stood by, whom the industry of the king had 
made fully accomplished in all honourable actions and 
in every variety of knowledge." And all that he 
saw so fascinated the Dane that he earnestly begged 
to remain with St. Edmund, " in order to be more 
fully instructed in the king's discipline." 

From St. Edmund's person and court flowed forth 
charity to all in need. His poet sings : 

" Against poor folk shut was not his gate, 
His wardrobe open all needy to relieve, 
Such royal mercy did his heart move 
To clothe the naked and the hungry feed. 
And sent he alms to folk that lay bedrid." ! 

" He was the father of his subjects, particularly of the 
poor," writes Alban Butler, quoting from Florence of 
Worcester, 2 " the protector of widows and orphans and 
the support of the weak." Again and again our 
annals address him as the " clement father," 3 the 
" benefactor of the poor," the " kind father of orphans 
and widows." There are, indeed, few recorded facts 
to support this unanimous testimony of St. Edmund's 
biographers. Incidentally, however, the saint's pane- 
gyrists relate events which show that they do not 
eulogise at random. The chance mention of Sathonius, 
the king's old pensioner, the tears of the aged sword- 
bearer, the eye-witness of his martyrdom, the devotion 
of the Danish chief to the saint, the history of the 
murderer Bern bear witness that Edmund was a just 
ruler, a strong-souled Christian man, whose reign could 
not fail to bring glory and prosperity to his country. 
1 Lydgate. 2 Bonn's edit., p. 59. 3 Harl. MS. 2802. 


Lydgateon Summing up the merits of his hero's government, 

polity. ' ' h the old Benedictine poet compares St. Edmund's king- 
dom to a beautiful and well-proportioned human figure 
of which the king himself forms the head. With the 
two eyes of prudence and reason the young prince 
watched over the whole body politic, taking heed that 
no quarrel or dissension disturbed its action. No class 
of society, no subject, however humble, no branch of 
government failed to receive the holy sovereign's 
attention. Edmund regarded his knights and warriors 
as the hands and arms of the state, to whom it belonged 
to defend the frontiers, to protect maidens and widows, 
"and save the Church from mischief and damage." 
As the soul which quickened and animated the fair 
form, the king cherished " folk contemplatiff " " sober 
of their ly ving " " expert in konning," who, by chaste 
example, holy doctrine and the dignity of their sacred 
office, " with lyght of virtu did his people enluinyne." 
He considered the plough and the labourer as the feet 
and legs of the state, without which it was helpless. 

"Thus evry membre set in order due, 

Ther was no cause among hem to compleyne : 

Ffor ech of hem his olr'yce did serve. 

The hed lyst nat at the ifoot dysdeyne. 

Ther love was oon, they partyd not on tweyne ; 

Ech thyng by grace so dewly was conveyed, 

Hed of the membrys was nat dysobeyed. 

And as the ruby, kyug of stonys alle 

Ilejoyssheth ther presence with its natural lyght 

Ryght so king Edmond in his royal stalle, 

With crowne and sceptre sat lyk an hevenly knyght 

To hyh and lowh moost agreeable of syght. 

This woord rehersyd of evry creature 

Longe might he leve the kyng here, and endure." 

A gionous and Thus, to the admiration of posterity the youthful 

peaceful reign. 

monarch throughout his reign maintained, in a bar- 
barous age and with subjects rough and lawless, that 


happy state of tranquillity in which "justice and peace 
kissed." l Few kings in early England so boldly 
attacked the savage and half pagan spirit of the country 
as Edmund of East Anglia. And he subdued it not by 
physical force, but by the assertion of Christian 

By his virtues, not by the sword, St. Edmund gained Through the 

influence of his 

his influence. Holiness as irreproachable as it was holiness. 
solid and practical won the admiration and respect of 
his people. They beheld their prince of an age when 
the violence of the passions is strongest, and in a 
position which placed him above the usual restraints 
of the law. Yet, dead to all sensual pleasures, he led a 
life upright and stainless amid the disorders of the 
times. Awe-struck and subdued, they regarded him as 
a superior being, and obeyed him as though he were 
an angel from heaven. Unlike most princes, he needed 
no vain display of pomp and ceremony to impress 
his people. Both his person and his manner strongly 
attached the nation to him : 

" In his estat moost godly and benygne ; 
Hevenly of cheer, of counsayl provident, 
Shewyng of grace ful many a blyssed signe ; 
* of wourthynesse the glorye, 

And in persone passing delynnesse. ' 


" Lovyd hym of herte that lokyd on his fface. " 

The best of monarchs have used similar powers of 
fascination to enlarge their empire. Not so St. 
Edmund, as Pierre de Caseneuve, his French biographer, 
remarks. The noble and gentle king of East Anglia 
was only ambitious to achieve the designs of Providence. 
" Ever to godward hool was his entent." 2 He limited 
his efforts to the simple every-day duties of a petty 
1 Ps. Ixxxiv. 11. 2 Lydgate. 


king, so long as God signified those to him. When the 
divine Will called him to higher duties, Edmund just 
as gladly and willingly obeyed even to the sacrifice 
of his life. The invasion of the Danes required him, 
lover of peace though he was, to take up arms in 
defence of his religion and country. Like another 
St. Michael, he unhesitatingly joined battle with the 
enemy. No English king made a more gallant stand 
against the Danes, none deserved better of Ids country- 
men, none fell more heroically than Edmund of East 
Anglia. But in all he designed and did he sought 
not his own glory. With mind and heart he looked to 
heaven. He gave no thought to self or earth. 



St. Edmund ami the Danes. 

^Authorities The connection of the Anglo-Saxons with their kindred on the conti- 
nent is a well known fact of history. Of St. Edmund's individual relations 
with Denmark and of his reputation there, Gaufridus, the compiler of 
Bodleian MS. 240 and Lydgate give the fullest particulars. The chief 
authority, however, for this and the following chapters is Pierre de Caseneuve, 
an Augustinian canon of St. Sernin's basilica at Toulouse, who flourished in 
the 17th century. His "Histoire de la vie et des miracles de St. Edmond Koi 
d'Kstangle, ou Angleterre Orientale," printed "chez Pierre Bosc" at Toulouse 
in 1044, is full of historic research, and numerous marginal references to the most 
reliable English and foreign annals greatly enhance its value. In his dedication 
to " Monseigneur Monseigneur rillustrissime et reverendissime Messire Charles 
de Mondial Archevcque de Tolose," Caseneuve mentions tlie occasion which 
suggested his writing the Life of St. Edmund, viz. the solemnity of translating 
the sacred bones of the royal martyr from a sepulchre of stone to a reliquary 
of silve", vowed to the saint by the men of Toulouse during a plague which 
afflicted their city. " Heaven and the angels," he writes, "have hitherto for 
many years been the only witnesses of the triumphs of St. Edmund. Now it is 
mai^s turn." This learned French biographer of the English martyr king has 
thoroughly sifted the history of Lothbroc or Lothparck, and satisfactorily 
cleared up the many difficulties raised by Polydore Vergil, Turner and others. 
Devotion and erudition combined make de Caseneuve a worthy chronicler of 
the events of St. Etlinun 1's life. Most of our English chroniclers, and notably 
William of Malmesbury and Matthew of Westminster, cursorily refer to the 
other events of this chapter. For the question of Lothbroc the student should 
further consult Richaid of Cirencester (Rolls Pub., vol. i. p. 333), Polydorus 
Vergil (Caxton Publ., vol. 36, pp. 141-142), and Adam of Bremen. Two 
other valuable documents worthy of mention here are the "Vita et Passio Sti 
Edmundi Breviter Collect i," found in the "Liber Coenobii S. Edmundi," of the 
municipal library of Douai, and the "Vita abbreviata," in Abbot Curteys' 
register, a cartulary now happily in the British Museum (Additional MSS. 7096, 
14848). Hardy omits both these pieces in his " Materials," though they contain 
several important incidents. The " Liber Cu;nobii Sti Edmundi," which was 
written while William Exeter ruled St. Edmund's Bury (14l8-142P),contains on 
the first page the stamp "BibliothecaBenedictinaAnglorum Duaci-S. Gregorins 
Magnus." On the fly-leaf occur the names of its former owners, " Roberta 
Woode,"the famous archseologsit. and " Johannis Smith! Londiniensis." In 1S36 
.Sir John Gage and Thomas Stapleton came expressly from London to examine 
this precious MS. Though full of matter of the most interesting character to 
the antiquarian and historian, no savant has yet edited it. On page 30 
begins the account of the " Translatio Sti Edmundi," in the reign of William II., 
to which reference will be made in chapter ix. On page 32 occurs the Life of St. 
Edmund used for the compilation of this and the following chapters (see Cata- 
logue of Douai MSS., by Dehaisnes, 543). The second, "Vita et Passio Sti 
E Imundi Regis, abbreviata etsumptade prolixa Vitaejusdem Sancti," takes up 
twelve folio pages of the register wlrch bears the name of Abbot Curteys, who 
-ordered its compilation to prove the privileges of his monastery : "Quia 
quidam . . . nfflrmavit quod monasterium Sti. Edmundi ante edictlnnem 
. . . . Decretorum 11011 fuit ab omni jurisdictione episcopal! exemptum ; 
.... Pater Willielmus Curteys Martyrinm S. Edmund! compendiose 
compilatum hie inseri fecit." King Stephen made the publication (edictionem) 
mentioned in this note in Abbot Ording's time (1148-1150). Abbot Curteys, 
however, traces the privileges of his abbey still further back, going to the very 
bisis of its exemption, by giving an abridgement of the " Prolixa Vita," which 
contained the first privileges granted to the guardians of St. Edmund's body. 
The "Prolixa Vita," of which the MS. Bodl. 240 partly supplies the place, 
probably perished in the 16th century. Abbot Curteys put forward the " Vita 
Abbreviate" as the strongest proof of the privileges of his abbey. As no one 
.disputed its facts, it may be accepted as reliable.] 


fame Edmu ' uls UNDER King Edmund's firm yet gentle rule East 
Anglia presented a marked contrast to the rest of 
England. Anarchy reigned supreme in Northumbria, 
internal troubles afflicted Mercia and Wessex. East 
Anglia alone could boast of peaceful borders, a con- 
tented people and an undisputed throne. Bound the 
crackling fire in the halls of many a llafford bards 
could sing of the peace and plenty brought to their 
shores, and of the noble king whom serf and freeman 
loved. Monks wrote his good deeds in monastic 
chronicles which have long since perished. So the 
virtues of " Blessed Edmund, of Christ's own man," 
spread their refulgence far and wide. l In that age 
men travelled by land and sea, almost as much as 
they do now, though without the same facilities. The 
race was young and restless. Its people revelled in 
any enterprise which took them beyond the limits 
of their own narrow homes. In these expeditions 
the conversation naturally turned to the young king 
of the East Angles. England soon rang with his 
praises. Even foreign kings held him in veneration. 
The fame of his prowess and, writes Koger of Wend- 

1 " Whoo can or may kepe cloos or hyde 
A cleer lanterne whan that it is lyght, 
Upon a channdelabre whan it doth abyde ? 
Or of Appollo dyfface the beemys bryght ? 
Or whoo kowde hyndre goddys owne knyght 
This blyssed Edmund, this crystes owne man, 
Thorugh many a kyndham but that his fame ran, 
O^his noblesse thus was the repoort, 
In Est yngelond how ther was a king 
Off whoom the renoon, by many a strannge poort, 
Was rad and songe his virtues rehersyng ; 
His governance, his knyghtly demenyng 
Which cessyd nat fro that it was be gonne 
Tyl in to Denmark the noble ffame is ronne." 



-over, " of his incomparable bodily size and stature," 
reached beyond the seas. Bishop Humbert in his 
letters to his fellow bishops on the continent probably 
dwelt upon the high qualities of his sovereign. The 
imperial court, also, closely watched Edmund's policy 
together with that of all the English kings of the 
period. According to the medieval idea the emperor 
presided over the whole earth in temporal matters as 
the pope did in spiritualities. Charlemagne acted on 
this principle, when he supported Egbert of Wessex 
or recognised Offa of Mercia so far as to treat with 
him for the protection of English pilgrims. The new 
emperor, Lothaire I., could not fail to recognise the 
growing popularity of the East Anglian king, whose 
youth and success often formed the theme of conver- 
sation in his court. Especially Old Saxony, the land 
of his birth, rejoiced in the renown of its young prince- 
The happy issue of his expedition had filled the Saxons 
with delight. They loved to talk of the success of 
their bright and gentle Edmund, the choice of his 
people, the glory of his land. Where " he reigned, 
no man sought for justice and failed to get redress, 
nor did any innocent man cry in vain for mercy." 
Under his strong and just rule "a boy might drive 
a mule laden with gold " from Lynn to Sudbury, or 
from Thetford to Yarmouth, and "none dared molest 
him." Thus they spoke of him in the land of his 

On the north of Old Saxony lay Denmark, at that 
time swarming with bold adventurers. The report of 
their neighbour's enterprise and its prosperous result 
spread rapidly among them. They regarded Edmund in 
the light of a daring and fortunate adventurer, and in 
their schemes of invasion or conquest naturally discussed 
his method of success. Finding it Christian in every 


detail, they were filled with an apostate hate, 1 and 
thought of East Anglia only to ruin it. In Edmund 
they beheld a Christian king whom their swords could 
bring to the dust, and in his kingdom a fresh field for 
plunder as soon as occasion offered. How terrible 
a danger thus threatened Edmund and his people a 
rapid glance at the Danes and their country will show. 
Denmark ami By the Danes or Norsemen in the ninth century 

the Danes, A.D. 

were meant all the countless tribes that peopled the 
Scandinavian peninsula, the islands of the Baltic and 
present Denmark. They were of a kindred race to the 
Angles and Saxons, but Christian civilization had 
hardly yet affected them. Untamed and savage, they 
possessed all the wild daring and barbaric habits of 
the English who scoured the northern seas three 
centuries before. A line of vigorous sovereigns was 
now, however, striving to reduce Scandinavia and its 
dependencies to some settled order. Their policy, as 
well as an absurd law by which the eldest son inherited 
the whole patrimony to the exclusion of the rest of the 
family, forced thousands of free and independent spirits 
to seek their fortune on the high seas. Once more 
the northern ocean was darkened by the black ships 
of pirate chieftains who despised storm and tempest, 
and loved the sea best when the wind lashed it into 
a fury resembling their own mad licence. Any 
thriving country was considered lawful prey. Any 
chivalrous Christian king was deemed a fit object for 
their pagan hate. In hordes these Norsemen ravaged 
the coasts of Europe, and slaughtered the inhabitants 
Their ships when descried on the sea-line spread uni- 
versal panic. With them invasion meant the confla- 
gration of town and village, the slavery of women, the 
murder in cold blood of men and children. They struck 

1 Many of the Danes apostatised from the Christian faith about 
this time. 


down the priest at the altar. They left monasteries 
and churches heaps of smouldering ruins. Govern- 
ment, arts, letters, religion, all lay crushed in their 
wake. Having wasted one country, they steered to 
another to repeat the same horrors. Winter alone 
stopped their ravages. Then they retreated with the 
spoils of the year to some safe harbour to give them- 
selves up to rioting and lust. Throwing off their 
lethargy with the spring breezes, they put to sea again. 
In later times fleets of these pirates crowded up the 
Seine, and, with Kalph the Ganger at their head, wrested 
the provinces on both sides of the river from the 
French king. Other bands desolated the banks of the 
Tagus. Others sailed through the pillars of Hercules, 
and founded a kingdom in southern Italy. But a cen- 
tury before these events the fame of King Edmund had 
attracted their thoughts towards England. 

In the annals of East Auglia occurs an episode of tic Dane. 
this period which illustrates the habits of the Danes, 
and introduces several characters who play important 
parts in St. Edmund's history. On that southern part 
of the coast of Denmark which is washed by the north- 
ern sea ruled a chieftain named Lothbroc, : or more 
correctly Lothparck. Some chroniclers style him king, 
by which they probably mean no more than that he was 
a man of position. By piracy he had accumulated 
great wealth, which, added to his blood connection 
with the ruling house and his known cunning and 
villainy, gave him an unenviable notoriety. He must 
not, however, be confused with the more famous Eagnar 
Lodbrog, who was put to death on the coast of North- 
umbria in the year 805. 2 Both were Danes, both met 

1 Gaufridus writes it Lodebrok (odiosus rivus), "loathed brook." 
Leland gives Lothbrig and Lothbric ; Speed, Lothbroke, which 
signifies, he says, Leather briche. The Douai MS. and Matthew 
of Westminster spell it Lothbrocus ; Lydgate, Lothbrokus. 

2 Lingard. Butler says he met his death in Ireland. 


a tragic death in England, both were avenged by their 
sons. But Lothbroc never swayed the nation like the 
sea-king Eagnar Lodbrog, who commanded the most 
terrible barbarian fleet that ever darkened the northern 
ocean, and bore down with thousands of savages upon 
England. Neither did Hinguar and Hubba avenge 
Eagnar's death, but his son Agner, whose name the 
carelessness of north-country annalists has confused 
with that of Hinguar. In fact, Eagnar's death occurred 
upwards of thirty years before St. Edmund's birth, and 
sixty before Hinguar and Hubba invaded England. 
The identity of the Lothbroc or Lothparck of St. 

lished under the -r, n n) i j. nn i_ i_i- i j i i i> 

name of Loth- Edmund s history is fully established by Adam of 
Bremen. l " The kings of the Danes," he says, " who 
infested the coast of France were Horig, Ordinig, 
Gothafrid, Eodulph, and Hinguar; the cruellest of 
them all was Hinguar, the son of Lothparch, who 
wheresoever he went subjected the lives of Christians 
to the most horrible cruelties." This notice of Loth- 
parck, while it distinguishes him from Eagnar Lodbrog, 
after whom he has been carelessly named, saves the 
following narrative, strange as it may read, from being 
considered a mere fable. 

Lothparck's two Lothparck had two sons, Hinguar and Hubba, 2 

sons Hinguar 

and Hubba. remarkable even in that rough age for fierceness and 
savagery. Of all the leaders who infested the coasts 
of France, Hinguar held the palm for merciless cruelty. 
His brother to other crimes added witchcraft. Un- 
willing to settle down in their father's district, these 
men chose a life of adventure on the high seas, heading 
the most desperate crews of their fellow pirates in 
raids upon the coasts of Europe. None could make a 

1 Migne's Latin Patrol., vol. 146, p. 486, cap. xxx. 

2 Gaufridus says, "Ex quo rivo [Lodebrok, i.e. odiosus rivus] 
eraanavit . . tres, videlicet filii cjusdem Hinguar, Hubba, et 


louder boast of the success of piracy. Unloading 
their ships, they would ask : " Who is there that by 
right or wrong, by craft or force, has gained renown 
or collected treasure as we ? " l On one occasion they 
spoke in this strain in the hearing of their father : " Is 
there any living man, king or prince, on land or water, 
as bold as we ? No one dares to meet us sword 
with sword. Be we right or wrong, all yield before us, 
ploughman and merchant, horseman and ship." Loth- 
parck, swelling with envy, or perhaps, as others sup- 
pose, repenting of evil deeds which had brought him 
a remorseful old age, scornfully replied that they had 
achieved no success comparable with that of Edmund 
of East Anglia. " I know one," he said, " not yet a 
score and five years old, who surpasses you by a worthy aTimwi, '"' 
life as the sun the little stars. In England there 
reigns a king whose goodness all folks commend. His 
fame, so report says, extends all the world over. What- 
ever your boast may be, his prowess transcends it as 
the high moon the scudding clouds. His knights are 
brave ; his government strong ; and yet he does no 
violence. His prudence puts to shame your daring. 
Not many years ago, a mere stripling here in Saxony, 
he sailed to England with a few followers and won a 
kingdom. What have you to show compared with 
that ? You waste your life in crime which all good . 

* Ami rebukes Ins 

men execrate. King Edmund wins the love of high and so " Si 
low by virtuous deeds." Stung to the quick by these 
rebukes, and jealous of their rival, Hinguar and Hubba 
determined to wipe out the seeming reproach. " Being 
angry at their father's reproof," writes Blomefield, 2 

1 Leland's "Collectanea," vol i. p. 245. Also Polydorus Vergil, 
Caxton Publications, vol. xxxvi. pp. 141-142 et seq. 

2 History of Thetford, p. 28. St. Abbo writes : "Ad earn 
(Inguar] fama pervenerat, quod idem rex gloriosus, videlicet 
Eadmundus, florenti setate, et robustis viribus, bello per omnia 
esset strenuus." 


" they resolved to conquer St. Edmund or to kill him." 
An unfortunate circumstance favoured their designs, 
and gave an excuse to the two brothers for bearing 
down upon the English coasts at the head of a host 
of barbarians. 
The legend of It appears that Lothparck, in his fondness for hunt- 

Lothparck. ,, , . 

ing, orten went alone with hawk on wrist to enjoy 
the quiet sport which his age and country allowed. 
Love of sport one day prompted him to embark in 
a little boat which was moored in the river near his 
settlement. He intended to hawk in the islands lying 
just off the mainland, which at that time abounded in 
every kind of wild bird. But hardly had he got out to 
sea when the sky darkened, and a fierce and sudden 
storm broke overhead. 1 For several days and nights 
the wild billows tossed him to and fro, till finally 
fortune, wind and waves cast him, half dead with 
hunger and fatigue, on the coast of England. His boat, 
driven by the wind up the river Tare in Norfolk, ran 
ashore among the reed-grown marshes which gave to 
the village in their midst the name of Eeedham, or the 
hamlet of the reeds. 2 The inhabitants sighted the little 
boat, and, on drawing it to land, discovered its occupant 
prostrate and exhausted. With Christian kindness 
they fed and tended the stranger, till at last lie 
opened his eyes to find himself in the kingdom of that 
Edmund whose goodness he had heard of and extolled. 
Edmund was probably then keeping his court not far 
from Eeedham at a town which had once been one of 
the most flourishing in Britain and a residence of the 
kings of Iceni. The Romans afterwards fortified it, 

1 Speed writes (p. 398) that Lothbroc was on the sea-shore, and 
his hawk in Hying for game fell into the sea, which made Lothbroc 
go into his cockboat to save her ; and so he was driven out to sea. 

2 This was, of course, when the cliffs watered by the Waveney 
formed the old coast line, and before the sea had silted up the 
long low land which lies between the Waveney and the sea. 


and from them it received its name of Caistor, castra, 
or the camp. 1 Following the custom of the kings 
before him, Edmund made Caistor one of his royal 
residences. After his martyrdom the faithful built 
and dedicated a church there under their holy king's 
invocation, from which it received the name of Caistor- 
St-Edmund's. To Caistor, then, came the news that 
the tide had washed ashore a boat from Denmark, 
containing in an exhausted condition a single occupant. 

With St. Edmund it was a sacred custom to receive st. Edmun.r.s 

reception of tin- 

hospitably all strangers and pilgrims. He therefore stranger. 
invited the hapless Dane to his court. Lothparck found 
himself honourably received in the royal palace ; for, 
though he concealed his real estate, the extreme 
elegance and beauty of his person and his imperious 
carriage made the king suspect his rank. Edmund 
listened attentively while Lothparck related in Danish, 
a dialect at that time near akin to English, the accident 
which had driven him to the Anglian shore. His tale 
finished, the Dane found the king a generous host. 
When the tempest wrecked Eagnar Lodbrog, the 
conqueror of Paris, on the Northumbrian coast, King 
Ella put him to a horrible death. Very differently 
acted the merciful and Christian Edmund. He treated 
Lothparck as a welcome guest. Though his officers 
whispered that the Dane was a spy, he charged them 
to show him every courtesy. He took upon himself 
the duty of consoling the stranger in his distress, 
and promised him a safe return to his own 
country. The pagan chief, on his side, was won 
by all he saw in the East Anglian court. The Lothparck 

tames at Kinj; 

gentle yet manly bearing of the king, the prowess and Edmund's court. 
skill of his knights, the light-hearted and cheerful 
household, in a word the peace and order which reigned 
throughout the royal palace wonderfully affected the 

* Camden's " Brit.," p. 463. 


Dane's uncultured mind. So touched was he, especi- 
ally with the king's graciousness of manner, that he 
earnestly begged to be allowed to tarry some days at 
the English court. Edmund willingly agreed. He 
hoped to bring one more soul under the sweet yoke 
of Christ. In the Danish pirate he saw a fit subject 
for his prayer and zeal. 

The longer Lothparck remained in East Anglia the 
more was he charmed with its king and " with the 
admirable state of his military discipline ; with the 
numerous retinue of servants who attended him, all fully 
accomplished in all honourable actions and in every 
variety of knowledge," through the industry of the 
royal master who had trained them. l To Edmund's 
great satisfaction his pagan guest took a childlike 
interest in his new life, and showed an undisguised 
admiration for the civilized ways of a Christian 

He is murdered Noticing Lothparck's fondness for sport, the king 
forest? es associated him with Bern, the master of the hunt, in 
order that they might visit together the best fields for 
game on the royal domains. Bern, though a skilful 
hunter and clever falconer, soon discovered that the 
Dane surpassed him. By the river, in the open field' 
in wood and on plain, success equally attended the 
stranger's efforts. Bern, whose chief duty lay in pro- 
viding the royal kitchen with provisions, now had a 
rival who anticipated his every exertion, and frequently 
enriched the king's table with the rarest dishes. All 
the royal household talked of the new huntsman's skill. 
Only Bern kept a sullen and jealous silence. Envy 
of Lothparck and an unreasonable resentment against 
Edmund filled him with rancour. To such an extent 
did feeling overcome him that one day in the hunt he 
waylaid the Danish favourite in the densest part of 

1 Matthew of Westminster. 


Heglesdune 1 forest, and, coming suddenly upon him 
from behind, stabbed him to death. After hiding 
the corpse among the bushes and leaves of a 
wooded dell, Bern blew his horn, assembled his hounds, 
and rode home as if nothing had happened. One dog, 
however, remained behind. It was a greyhound, a 
present from the king, which the Dane had fed and 
trained with affectionate care. Now it kept faithful 
watch by its dead master's side, expecting him to wake 
from his last sleep. 

The day of the murder and the next the king Lothp 


remarked the Dane's absence m m the common table. 
Again and again he made anxious enquiries about him. 
To Bern all looked for an explanation. The murderer 
replied that yesterday, when he returned home, the 
Dane remained behind, and he had not seen him since. 
Scarcely, however, had he spoken, when Lothparck's 
faithful hound bounded into the hall. As the dog 
wagged his tail and fawned upon them, especially on 
the king, Edmund and his men concluded that the 
Dane was not far off. With his own hand the king- 
fed the animal, waiting all the time for the approach 
of its master. He waited in vain. Having satisfied 
its hunger, the hound broke away from the royal 
caresses, and ran back to keep its watch by the mur- 
dered corpse. No master appeared, nor did the dog 
return. The king grew suspicious. Some whispered 
that the spy, after finding out the secrets of the coun- 
try, had gone back to Denmark ; others hinted at foul 

1 Now Hoxne in Suffolk. No name in the geography of Eng- 
land has probably gone through more changes than Heglesdune, or 
illustrates more strikingly our tendency to shorten words. Egles- 
dune, the eagle's dune or down, is written in different chronicles 
Eglesdune, Eglesdene, Eglesdon, /Eglisdune, ^Eglestoun, Hegils- 
dune, Heglesdune, Hogeston, Hoxtoun, Oxen, Hoxon, till in our 
day it is written Hoxne. Alms, from eleemosyna, is perhaps the 
only word that will bear comparison with Hoxne from Heglesdune. 


play. Three days after the hound had first come, it 
reappeared and whined piteously ; even the dainty 
morsels from the royal table failed to console it. It 
ate a little, then left ; this time the king ordered his 
servants to follow the animal. In its track they 
entered Heglesdune wood, and penetrated into the 
hollow overgrown with brushwood, in which lay the 
lifeless body of the unfortunate Dane, stiff and cold, the 
pale face upturned to heaven, the eyes staring and 
glassy, and the dead limbs partly covered with leaves. 
The truth quickly reached the ears of the king. 
Edmund was deeply moved. A crime of the blackest 
dye had been committed on one whom he held in 
favour ; the rights of hospitality had been disgracefully 
abused in a Christian land ; a soul had been sent to 
judgment without the baptismal robe. The king ordered 
the body of the murdered man to be buried with honour, 
while he mourned as for a long-tried and faithful 
friend. Meantime inquiries were instituted to discover 

The trial of Bern 

th.> murderer, the murderer. Bern had last seen the murdered man, 
and on him suspicion fell. The attitude of the dog 
confirmed the evidence of his guilt. Being confronted 
with him, the animal growled savagely, and with diffi- 
culty could the bystanders keep it from flying at the 
guilty huntsman. Still the evidence was not conclu- 
sive, and Bern denied the crime. In doubt what 
course to pursue, Edmund called together his coun- 
sellors and asked their advice. At this time the 
English were accustomed in cases of this nature to 


refer the decision to God, by subjecting the accused 
to some ordeal. They made him pass barefoot over 
hot ploughshares, or pick up with his hands a red-hot 
bar of iron, or plunge the arm in boiling water. Some- 
times they threw him bound hand and foot into a lake 
or river. If he came forth unscathed from an ordeal 
either of fire or water, the hand of God was thought 


to have determined his innocence. In the case of Bern 
all agreed to leave him to the judgment and decision 
of God. The legend states that the king's men, placing 
the criminal in the very boat which bore Lothparck 
to their shores, sent him adrift without sail, oar, rudder, 
or food. There was little doubt of Bern's guilt. If he 
were innocent, God would protect him. 

Wind and waves carried the unfortunate man far Bem accuses 

St. Edmuiiil 

out into the northern sea. The legend does not re- of the murder 

of Lothparck. 

cord what dangers and perils he met with, but the 
monastic chroniclers affirm that Divine Providence 
brought him to the very shores of his victim's country. 1 
It is certain that he found his way to Denmark. The 
Danes, recognising the boat, inquired after the chief 
whose mysterious disappearance had excited the won- 
der of the whole district. Bern answered with 
apparently deep emotion. The storm, he told his 
listeners, had cast Lothparck ashore in England, alone 
and half dead. The inhabitants had taken him to 
King Edmund, by whose command he was thrown 
into prison, and afterwards cruelly murdered. On 
hearing this, the indignant people brought the English 
stranger before Hinguar and Hubba. He told the 
same story to them. Willingly would the two pirates 
listen to any accusation against a foreign prince. It 
gave a colour of justice to their pillaging expeditions. 
Although they had every reason to disbelieve the 
charge of murder against Edmund, yet they determined 
to discover from Bern where their father really was. 
For this end they put the informer to the torture as 

1 An extraordinary instance of a boat and its occupant drifting 
to shores hundreds of miles away has occurred in our own day, 
in spite of skill in navigation and the frequent traffic on the high 
seas. The newspapers of the second week of February, 1886, gave 
the history of the Columbine, a fishing-smack, which drifted for 
eight days from Scotland to Norway with one poor creature on 


a spy and traitor. Full of malice, Bern maintained 
his former statement. King Edmund, lie called the 
Christian God to witness, had slain their father out 
of hatred to their race. 

"'H/ngul?ana n -^ o P 611 can describe the savage fury and grief which 
now took possession of Lothparck's sons. Passion to 
avenge their father's death intensified all the 
hate which his former reproofs had engendered. 
They solemnly swore to do all the mischief possi- 
ble to King Edmund and his subjects. Their 
sisters wove a sacred banner to place at the head 
of their forces and inspirit them in the fight. 
Without delay the two brothers sent messengers 
throughout the neighbouring districts to spread the 
story and to rouse the indignation of the country- 
They called upon other Danish leaders to join their 
expedition. Adventurers of every class quickly nocked 
to their standard, and Lothparck's sons enrolled them 
without hesitation in the formidable army which was 
soon mustered to punish the murderers of their father. 
Thus, adds St. Abbo, commenting on God's employ- 
ment of the wicked for the greater glory of the just, 
" Edmund, eminently adorned with good deeds in the 
sight of Christ and His Church, like holy Job was des- 
tined to undergo a trial of his patience at the hands of 
the enemy of the human race, who envies the good 
in proportion to the perversity of his own will. There- 
fore by divine permission he excited his agents 
Hinguar and Hubba to force the holy king, if possible, 
to break out in impatient murmuring, and, by depriv- 
ing him of all things, to make him in despair curse 
God and die." 


The Struggle with the Norsemen. 

{.Authorities Our principal historians only cursorily refer to the part which St. 
Edmund played in the English resistance of the Danes or Norsemen, though 
it is among the bravest in our annals. Most English chroniclers, however, in 
describing the terrible conflict with Hinguar and Hubba, give the prominent 
place to Edmund of East Anglia. His courageous stand, crowned by his 
martyrdom, forms the striking event of that destructive invasion. Ethel- 
werd's Chronicle, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Asser, a contemporary writer, 
Richard of Cirencester, Matthew of Westminster, William of Malmesbury, 
Ingulph of Croyland, the Histories of Ely, Peterborough and Ramsey, all 
speak of St. Edmund's part in the struggle. The biographies of the saint 
enter into the minutest details. Of these the principal are the Douai MS., 
the " Vita Abbreviata " of Curteys' Register, the Bodleian MS. 240, and Pierre 
de Caseneuve's History. Abbo gives a picturesque account of the Danes and 
of the parley between their leader and St. Edmund. Leland, Blomefield in 
his "History of Thetford," Speed, Camden, and others, borrow their 
narratives from the above.] 

HINGUAR and his brother had now some shadow of a The causes ot 

the invasion 

reason for attacking their rival of Last Anglia. The or A.D. sos. 
murder of their sire gave a colouring of justice to their 
undertaking; and no difficulty arose in drawing the 
wildest and most daring adventurers to their standard, 
for vengeance and greed of plunder equally attracted 
them. The descent upon England thus promised to 
become an easy task. 

Besides the murder of Lothparck. another event The dissensions 

in Northumbria. 

gave Hinguar and Hubba the aid and authority of no 
less a personage than the king of Denmark, and swelled 
their ranks with the best blood of Scandinavia. A 
Wessex thane named Osbert had for some years dis- 
puted the throne of Northumbria with Ella, its lawful 
heir. While on a hunting expedition, Osbert called 
at the castle of the nobleman Bocader, in whose 
absence he and his retinue were most hospitably 


entertained by the lady of the house. Before leaving, 
however, he had the discourtesy to grossly insult his 
hostess. Bocader, on hearing from his wife what had 
occurred, pursued the guilty prince, and, supported by a 
numerous party of friends, upbraided him to his face 
before his whole court ; then, fearing the consequences 
of his boldness, the outraged noble fled to Denmark, 
where he had spent his youth. He was connected by 
marriage with the Danish royal line, and he now urged 
the king of Denmark, Goderic or Eric II., 1 to assist 
him in avenging his wife's dishonour. He repre- 
sented to him the distracted state of Northumbria, 
the dissensions of its two rival parties, and the easy 
King Goderic of prey it offered to Danish enterprise. Goderic, anxious 

Denmark sup- 
ports the to give some settled form of government to his rough 

and disorganized kingdom, saw in Bocader's proposal 
an outlet for the restless and unmanageable spirits who 
threatened to ruin all his plans of reform. He deter- 
mined to authorise the invasion of England. Hinguar 
and Hubba furnished opportune instruments for carry- 
ing out his policy, and their absence from Denmark 
would be advantageous to its peace. Goderic accord- 
ingly approved of the expedition, but induced them to 
include the north of England in their scheme under 
pretext of the Northumbrian incident. He even urged 
the most powerful, and hence the most dangerous, of 
his subjects to join their ranks. Thus in a short time 
a host of twenty thousand men, under twenty jarls and 
eight sea-kings, besides Hinguar and Hubba, was ready 
to sweep down upon the western isles. 
EariiiT invasion This was not the first occasion on which the savage 

of the Danes. 

Norsemen had invaded England. From the year 787,. 
when the crews of three of their ships landed at 
Dorchester, their raids upon the English coast had 

1 Afterwards converted by St. Anscharius. See Butler, Nov. 20.. 


been almost incessant. Every year they planned fresh 
expeditions more or less formidable. Twice they 
ravaged Northumbria, and once they overran the 
Isle of Thanet. Towards the end of King Egbert's 
reign they annually attacked one part of Wessex or 
another. In 832 they took and plundered the Isle 
of Sheppey. The following year a fleet of five-and- 
thirty sail entered the mouth of the Dart, and Egbert 
had the mortification of seeing his West Saxons turn 
their back to the invaders and fly. The next year 
Cornwall became the scene of their ravages, and only 
after a life and death struggle did Egbert succeed 
in driving them back into the sea. A little later 
their ships were swarming in the northern seas, and 
literally surrounding the whole island. Not an inch 
of the coast-line was secure from attack. In the 
reign of Ethelwulph, Egbert's successor, one horde, 
bolder than the rest, ventured into the fenny lowlands 
of Lincolnshire, destroyed the Christian army under 
Ealdorman Herebryht, and pushed its victorious career 
through East Anglia to the Thames, in spite of the 
slaughter of a considerable part of their force by 
Ofta, the predecessor of St. Edmund. Three terrible 
struggles at Rochester, Canterbury and London with- 
in a few months, and the obstinate resistance of 
Ethelwulph at Charmouth for a while stemmed 
the tide of invasion. Attracted by plunder more 
easily to be obtained, they turned aside to resume 
their ravages in France. 

For ten years they left England in comparative The invasion <>r 

, A. 11. 851. 

peace. On returning in 851, they found the English 
kingdoms prepared to meet them. Even the clergy 
had armed to resist these formidable enemies of the 
cross. To the consternation of all, however, they 
took forcible possession of the Isle of Thanet, sailed 
up the Thames, sacked Canterbury and London, and 


defeated the king of Mercia. Ealhstan, bishop of 
Sherbourne, won a momentary triumph at the mouth 
of the Parret, and then Ethelwulph, stimulated by the 
warnings of St. Swithuri, bishop of Winchester, sum- 
moned up all his courage, and by one supreme effort 
overthrew the Danes with a loss greater than they had 
ever before sustained. Again and again in the course 
of the year the English repulsed them, first in one 
part of the country then in another, so that this was 
called the prosperoiis year ; and a second time their 
reckless onsets ceased. 

sion^^.iTses. These earlier Danish forays were, says our chief 
English historian, l mere preludes to the storm which 
broke over the countrv in the reign of St. Edmund. 

*/ O 

This third and most disastrous invasion of the Danes 
occurred in the ninth year after Edmund's corona- 
tion at Sudbury, in the eleventh after his landing 
at Hunstanton, and in the twenty-fourth of his age. 
Ethelred had just ascended the throne of Egbert, 
and Burrhed reigned in Mercia. The army of 20,000 
Danes, under the leadership of its ten sea-king.s, 
came, writes William of Malmesbury, " to devastate 
the kingdoms of Northumbria and East Anglia." 
Hinguar and Hubba had been entrusted with the 
chief command, having under them the leaders 
Halfsden, 2 Oskitel, Bagseg, Hosten, Eowils, Hamund, 
and Gothrun, names but too familiar to the old 
chroniclers. The perjured Bern 3 made the tenth sea- 
king, and acted as guide to the expedition. The 
twenty jarls or under-captains directed each a 
thousand men under their ten superior officers. 
The first year of This formidable host, with an equal number waiting 

the invasion. 

1 Lingard. 

- Halfsden, says the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, A.D. 878, was 
a brother of Hinguar and Hubba. 
3 Gaufridus spells his name Wera. 



in Denmark to follow, sailed for East Anglia. -"e landing. i 


Contrary winds, however, drove them north as far as 
Berwick-on-Tweed, where they landed. They at once 
began the work of destruction. They spared no 
Christian, old or young ; men, women and children 
were indiscriminately slaughtered. Churches and 
monasteries, the special objects of their hate, were 
given to the names. Wherever they marched, the 
barbarians left behind a wilderness of black ruins 
and blazing homesteads. 

At the approach of winter the greater number Hmguar'makes 

for EastfAnglia. 

collected their spoil and fortified themselves in 
the north with the intention of wintering ; but 
Hinguar, in his thirst for revenge, pushed south- 
wards to East Anglia. He carried with him the 
famous Eeafan, or standard of the Raven, which 
the three daughters of Lothparck had woven for 
their brothers in one moon-tide. Wherever the two 
chieftains marched, this banner went before them. 1 
Previous to every battle they observed if the sable 
bird embroidered upon it napped its wings, for in 
that case it was an omen of victory ; if, however, 
the bird hung motionless in the air, it betokened 
defeat. To fight under this magic standard many 
willingly put to sea again ; others, greedy of plunder,, 
flocked from the main land. Thus, in command of 
a numerous fleet, 2 Hinguar spent the year 866 
coasting about East Anglia. He made frequent forays 
into the country, principally with the object of cap- 
turing horses, that his men might learn the art of 
riding and be more equally matched with the English. 
In a few months their knowledge of horsemanship 

1 Asser. 

" Cum magna classe," writes St. Abbo, who has unwittingly 
confused this maritime attack of A.D. 866-7 with the land 
invasion of 870. 


considerably increased their facilities for plunder. 
Then, leaving his fleet on the shore under the care of 
a few followers, Hinguar would land his forces, make a 
sudden raid on the adjacent towns and villages, and 
carry off whatever he could lay hands on. At other 
times, with some seaport l for a base of operations, he 
would carry war into the very interior of the country- 
st. Edmund It was now that King Edmund showed forth the 

takes the field. , ~. . . . TT . 

courage and prowess ot a Christian warrior. Heathen 
physical force," writes Carlyle, " Danes coming into 
his territory proposed mere heathenism, confiscation, 
spoliation, and fire and sword. Edmund answered, 
that he would oppose to the utmost such savagery." - 
The high-souled king would not suffer with im- 
punity his dominions to be laid waste, loving subjects 
to be massacred, and homes and altars to be razed 
to the ground. On his coronation-day he had taken 
in his hand the naked sword, and vowed to defend 
the land and people whom God had committed to his 
keeping. The presence of these sea-robbers on his 
coasts called upon him to fulfil his vows. Without 
hesitation he marched to meet the invader. He, too, 
had his banner, upon which was worked the tree 
of good and evil, under whose branches stood Adam 
and Eve eating the forbidden fruit. Above the tree 
the Lamb slain from the beginning poured forth His 
precious Blood to wash away the original sin and 
to give new strength to fallen man. The device 
taught both king and people not to put their trust 
in sinful nature but in Christ, the victor over sin 
and hell. 3 With this standard at the head of his 

1 E.g. Lynn. See Arnold's "Memorials of St. Edmund's 
Abbey," p. 9. 

2 " Past and Present," p. 47. 

3 St. Edmund's banner was well-known in after times. Like 
other Anglo-Saxon kings, he probably used it in his royal 
progresses as well as in the battle-field. 


forces, Edmund hastened to the encounter. In skir- 
mish after skirmish lie dispersed the enemy. But 
each defeat made Hinguar and his men burn more 
fiercely for revenge. Unable to effect their end by 
force, the invaders had recourse to cunning. Here 
again the valiant warrior of Christ, whose sword 
brought so many of their comrades to the dust in 
the open field, was equally able to meet them. 
When they thought he was within their grasp, he 
often took them by surprise and routed them with 
great slaughter. 

The "Liber Ctenobii" gives the following story of The story ..t 
one of St. Edmund's expedients in time of danger. 
On a certain occasion the enemy surprised the king 
in one of his camps, l and so hemmed him in that 
there seemed no means of escape. The siege was so 
protracted that famine threatened both the besieged 
and besieging. Edmund determined to keep the Danes 
ignorant of his own probable distress, and thus force 
them to disband in search of food. For this end he 
ordered a fatted bull which was being grazed in the 
fortress to be fed abundantly with clear good wheat, 
and then straightway to be turned loose outside the 
enclosure. The Danes seized the beast with avidity. 
To their surprise, on killing the animal they found its 
stomach full of fresh corn. Naturally concluding that 
the beleaguered city could be in 110 want of provisions, 
they raised the siege in despair. The king stealthily 
followed them. Waiting till they separated into 
foraging parties, he attacked them now in the woods, 
now in the villages, and put half their number to 
the sword. 

On another occasion Edmund's knowledge of the The battle of 
country, no less than his tactical skill, saved his person Banlby. 1 ' ' 
from capture, and enabled him to inflict considerable 
1 Probably Thetford. 


loss on the enemy. Bern, being well acquainted with 
the king's habits, surprised him with a few attendants 
in the woods and low grounds of Lothingland, l better 
known now-a-days as the Oultoii and Mutford Broads, 
Hemmed in by the river Waveney, by the deep lake 
Lothing and by impassable marshes fed by four 
streams, there seemed no possibility of escape. Edmund, 
however, knew the neighbourhood better than his 
enemy. Crossing a ford near Barnby, known only 
to himself, and afterwards called Berneford, 2 because 
" the king escaped from Bern by it," he joined the 
main body of his forces, surprised the Danes in the 
marshes and cut them to pieces. 
The Danes sue Beaten on every side, and dreading the approaching 

for peace. . . 

winter, the pagan leader now anxiously sued for peace. 
He i'eared lest, if he continued the struggle, his retreat 
might be cut off and his army demoralised. Edmund, 
writes C'aseneuve, looked upon the prospects of peace 
as a favour from God. Glad to give his harassed 
subjects a brief respite, he willingly came to terms. 
A treaty was made with conditions few and simple. 
Edmund allowed the pagans to winter in the camp 
which they had raised at Thetford, and to retain a 
certain number of horses. 3 The Danes on their part 
solemnly promised to discontinue their depredations 
and to leave the country at the first approach of spring. 
Edmund, however, still kept on the alert. He dealt 
with a treacherous enemy, on whose word he could 
place no reliance. He refused to disband his army, 

1 The district of Lothingland consists of the N.E. corner of 
Suffolk, and lies between the Waveney and the sea. It is sup- 
posed by Blomefield and Speed to have received its name from 
some connection with Lothparck, who was cast ashore in that 

- See Speed, p. 198. Derneford, in the Lambeth Codex quoted 
by Battely, is evidently a copyist's mistake. 

3 Henry of Huntingdon, lib. v. 


ordered the towns to keep watch, and openly gave 
the Danes to understand that he would force them 
to observe the articles of the treaty. The result 
showed the king's wisdom. 

In the month of February of the new year 8G7, The glorious 

King Kilinuml 

the third of the great invasion. l the Danes prepared drives tin- 
pagans from 

to leave East Anglia, but not without one more effort East A "K lii1 ' 
to possess the country. Their final defeat quickly 
drove them back to the north. The saint's biographers 
thus relate the incident : King Edmund had made 
Framlingham Castle 2 his base of operations through- 
out the past conflict. From its battlements he kept 
a look-out on the Danes, who still infested the king- 
dom. Framlingham stood impregnable on high ground 
defended by an impassable mere, which it overlooked. 
In spite of promises and treaties, Hinguar resolved 
to capture this fortress and, if possible, the king also. 
It was a bold idea, but not easy to carry out with an 
opponent so wary as Edmund. One day, however, the 
Danes surprised one of the old pensioners whom the 
saint at his own expense lodged and fed in the castle. 
This blind and decrepit man, by name Sathonius, 
was induced by a bribe, and probably much more 
by the fear of torture, to betray a weak part of the 
castle walls, which he himself in his younger days 

1 The years of this terrible invasion are.'thus numbered by the 
St. Edmund's Bury annalists : In the first year 865, they landed 
in Northumbria ; in the second 866, they harassed East Anglia ; 
in the third 867, they returned to York ; in the fourth 868, they 
marched upon Nottingham ; in the fifth 869, they wasted Northum- 
bria ; in the sixth 870, they martyred St. Edmund. 

- Framlingham was a Roman fortress. It was rebuilt by Red- 
vvald, and has since always been a place of historic importance. 
The present strong and enduring walls are Norman work. From 
the conquest to 1654 it was in the hands sometimes of the Dukes 
of Norfolk, sometimes of the crown. Purchased of the Norfolk 
family by Sir N. Hitcham, it was bequeathed by him to Pembroke 
Hall, Cambridge. See R. Loder's "History of Framlingham." 


had helped to build. Hinguar now watched his 
chance. No sooner had his spies brought him news 

After frustating <> , i , , -i-> i i ^i i 

their treacher- ot the king s presence at Framlingham than he 
ordered his men to advance secretly upon the place. 
The king, aware too late of the treachery of his 
grey-haired dependent, saw no escape but in a 
bold flight. Mounting his swiftest charger, he 
galloped out through the open gates, and past the 
ambuscades of the enemy, who were hiding in 
bands in the neighbourhood. Some of the Danes 
saw him ride by, and, not suspecting who he 
was, gave chase, in the hope of getting some informa- 
tion about the king. As they shouted to him at a 
distance, Edmund, like St. Athanasius on a similar 
occasion, turned and answered : " Go back as fast as 
you can, for, when I was in the castle, the king whom 
you seek was there also." They quickly turned back 
to Framlingham, only to find how easily they had been 
deceived. The fearless king lost 110 time in collecting 
his forces. Then, falling upon the baffled Danes, as 
they were furtively retreating, he cut them to pieces 
without mercy. " It was thus," records an old manu- 
script, l "that through the various events of war, and 
after great labour and exertion, the saint and his army 
compelled the enemy to fly from the country." 2 

The ti>ird. year The vanquished Norsemen made their way to North- 

t the invasion. 

unibria, where, by money and promises, Hinguar had 

1 "Liber Cccnobii." 

2 Polydorus Vergil (lib. iv.), after correctly narrating this 
incident, adds : " Some say that the king ran away, then, turning 
round to meet his Danish pursuers, who asked him where the 
king was, he answered : ' When I was in the palace, Edmund 
whom you seek was there also. When I left, he did the same, 
and God only knows if he will escape from your hands.' The 
Danes, having heard from an interpreter that he had named God, 
were convinced that he was the king, and took him prisoner." 
This latter account is opposed to all the earlier and authentic 


kept alive the flame of civil war. It seemed at last vIcto^y'at^York, 
as if Northumbria would fall an easy prey into his A - D - 8 7 - 
hands. But the two rival claimants, Osbert and Ella> 
on the former of whom it was nominally the object of 
the Danish expedition to wreak its vengeance, now 
suddenly laid aside their private quarrel, and united 
their forces against the common foe. On the 21st of 
March they surprised the two bodies of Danes outside 
York, and drove them into the city. Then, making a 
breach in the walls, they pressed into the streets. The 
day was almost theirs, when the efforts of the bar- 
barians, redoubled by despair, turned the tide of war. 
Frantically the Danes drove the English back. They 
slew Osbert and the bravest of their assailants, and 
captured Ella. York was lost for ever, and with it the 
independence of Northumbria ; and the barbarians 
remained in possession of the whole of that province 
south of the Tyne. 

At the end of the year Hinguar turned his thoughts 
once more towards the south. He feared, however, 
to again attack East Anglia, for its defender was still 
watching his movements. So, leaving a small garrison 
at York, he marched with the greater part of his men 
into Mercia, and, in the beginning of the year 868, took 
possession of Nottingham, the strongest position in 

Before attempting to dislodge the pagans from their The fourth year 

of the invasion. 

rocky stronghold, Burrhed, the Mercian king, begged ^ ^ dmn ^, d at 
the aid of the neighbouring princes. Never behind Nottin g hain - 
in the cause of God, Edmund, the brave and heroic 
victor of the east, was the first to answer the call. 
Following his example, Ethelred of Wessex and his 
half-brother Alfred hastened to join the alliance against 
the common enemy. 

Under the walls of Nottingham Edmund induced He procures a 

. charter for 

King Burrhed to grant a charter of gifts to the abbey o 


of Croyland. Burrhed's predecessor, ostensibly to 
carry on war against the Danes, had plundered St. 
Guthlac's monastery at Croyland of all the jewels 
and sacred treasures with which former sovereigns had 
enriched it. Earl Alfgar the younger, who afterwards 
fell so gloriously in battle with the Danes, tried in 
vain to have this spoliation made good. St. Edmund 
now brought his influence to bear to save the great 
abbey from future sacrilege. Ingulph gives the charter 
in full which Edmund procured, and which is dated 
the 1st of August in the year of our Lord 868, and was 
signed in the camp at Nottingham. In the order of 
signatures the archbishops, bishops and abbots take 
precedence, a striking instance of the faith of the age. 
After the spiritual fathers and guides follow the kings 
and the noblest thanes. The royal signatures tell the 
history of the deed : 

* JEtbelreD, Iking of Wessej, 3- bave given ing consent. 
4- aifrefc, brotbec of tbe Iking of "GQesser,, $ consent 

4- JSomunfc, Iking of Bast Bnglta, $ bave procures it. 

Through St. Edmund's action Croyland thus obtained 1 
its charter, a solitary example, indeed, of his 
love of God's service, but one which shows at a 
glance the influence for good which he everywhere 
exercised. No doubt the saint's presence brought God's 
blessing upon the Christian arms as Josaphat's did 
upon those of Israel. The English kings quickly sur- 
rounded the Danes, cut off all escape, and forced 
the starving enemy to capitulate. Hinguar surren- 
dered the town, only stipulating that he should be 
allowed to remain till favourable weather enabled 
him to march back to the north. 
Tim Danes While the walls of Nottingham thus kept the 

ravage the 

North: main body of invaders from doing further harm, a 

party of those left at York crossed the Tweed and 


ravaged the far north. The dread which they inspired 
may be imagined from the scene which they witnessed 
at Coldingham. One horde had penetrated thus far 
north, and attacked St. Ebba's Abbey. The holy abbess, 
fearing nothing save the loss of her virginity, cut off 
her nose and upper lip, and persuaded the sisters under 
her charge to follow her example. The Danes, break- 
ing into the cloister, beheld the ghastly sight which 
these brave spouses of Christ presented. Amazed 
and disconcerted, they put the nuns to the sword, fired 
the abbey, and quickly departed to continue the havoc 

At the opening of the spring of 869, the pagans The ttftii year <>r 

^ . the invasion. 

left Nottingham and joined their comrades in the north. The wasting or 


Then began the wholesale destruction of every great 
abbey in northern England. l Lindisfarne, once hal- 
lowed by the presence of St. Aidan and St. Ctithbert, 
saw its monks seized and slaughtered. A few only 
contrived to escape with the body of St. Cuthbert, 
which now began its one hundred and twenty-six years' 
wandering. Tynemouth Priory, St. Ben net Biscop's 
twin monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow, the latter 
the home of Venerable Bede, Strensall, which St. Hilda 
built near her own abbey of Whitby, all were reck- 
lessly plundered and given to the flames. The 
approach of winter alone interrupted the work of 
destruction, and the exhausted enemy, sick of the 
carnage, fell back on York to rest awhile. 

With the spring breezes of the year 870, the sixth The sixth year of 

- ,, . .,,.*". ,1 -VT i the invasion. 

of this terrible invasion, the Norsemen began to move The final conflict 

with Edmund. 

again. Once on the march, they rushed southwards 
like an unchecked flood, wrecking all before them. 
Thirst for vengeance, whetted by three years of un- 
bridled licence, urged the barbarian leaders to attack 

1 For a saddening and vivid picture of these onslaughts of the 
Danes, see Lingard's "Anglo-Saxon Church," vol. ii. c. xii. 


again the dauntless Edmund of East Anglia. To his 
presence Hinguar and Hubba attributed their partial 
failure at Nottingham. That Edmund should calmly 
and successfully defy them was a reproach which their 
savage pride could not brook. Besides, he stood in 
Eastern k MOTcte. tne wav ^ an y attempt at subduing Mercia and 
Wessex. Gathering together their army, therefore, 
they crossed the Humber into Lincolnshire, in direct 
route for East Anglia. Only by one pass and that 
on the west could the enemy without great difficulty 
enter St. Edmund's kingdom. For that they made, 
leaving the frontier of the country in ruin and waste. 
Landing at Linclsey, they first attacked the rich abbey 
Bardney. of Bardney, massacred the monks, and gave the 

buildings to the flames. To oppose their progress the 
ealdorman Alfgar gathered around him the bravest 
youth of the land of Kesteven, but, though three of the 
robber kings fell by his sword, he could not even by 
the sacrifice of his life stem the impetuous torrent. 
It was midnight when the news of Alfgar's defeat 
reached the ears of the venerable Theodore, abbot of 
croyiami. Oroyland. The cries of the messengers broke in upon 
the office of matins ; the burning homesteads around 
lit up the abbey windows with a lurid glare, and cast 
a weird light over nave and aisle. Theodore hastily 
collected the charters, jewels, relics and other treasures 
of the sanctuary, and sent off the younger monks to 
the neighbouring woods, while he himself with the 
elder brethren and the children continued the chant, 
awaiting the heathen approach. Abbot Theodore, 
writes the chronicler of the abbey, as if describing the 
great solemnity of our own day, sang^the high mass, 
that terrible dawn assisted by Brother Alfget the 
deacon and Brother Savin the sub-deacon, with Egel- 
red and Wulric as acolytes. Hardly was the mass 
finished and holy communion given, when the Danish 


chief Osketul burst into the choir, and, seizing the 
venerable abbot by his white locks, struck off his head 
at the foot of the altar. Neither the looks nor the 
fresh bloom of youth saved the boys of the monastery 
from the sword of the barbarians ; the monks were 
reserved for torture before death, and their corpses 
were left to be consumed in the flames of the 
burning abbey. In the light of the conflagration 
of Croyland, the savage horde sped on to repeat the 
same tragedy at Thorney in Cambridgeshire. Thence ihorney. 
they hurried to Peterborough, the pride of Saxon Peterborough, 
architecture, the patrimony of St. Peter in England, 
founded by kings, enriched by generations of princes. 
The inhabitants of the neighbourhood had sought the 
protection of its thick and massive walls. And at 
first it seemed as if the abbey, fortress-like, would 
effectually resist the savage onslaught, but, a stone 
having struck Hinguar in the first attack, the Norse- 
men, mad with rage, redoubled their efforts and 
captured the place. Thirsting for revenge, they broke 
into the cloisters, and without mercy slaughtered the 
women and children. Hubba with his own hand 
immolated the abbot and eighty monks on one stone, 
to avenge his brother's wound. They divided the 
plunder, and then set fire to the abbey. For fifteen 
days the conflagration proclaimed far and wide the 
ruthlessness of the enemy who had passed that way. 

The line of march to the entrance of St. Edmund's Ramsey. 
kingdom next brought the Danes to Kamsey in 
Huntingdonshire. From the ashes of Eamsey, they 
marched to the Isle of Ely, in the midst of which stood Ely. 
St. Etheldreda's abbey. The nuns had scorned flight ; 
they relied for protection on the extensive marshes 
and the deep and impassable lakes which surrounded 
their convent. The sisters, however, without leader 
or defender, could not resist their formidable foe, 


who was not to be deterred by mere physical obstacles. 
The intrepid virgins of Christ, the daughters of the 
noblest Saxon families of England, were sacrificed to the 
cruellest of heathen tortures, and the flames soon 
devoured every building within the Isle of Ely. 

Se e wkeaf f Leaving Hubba with ten thousand men to conduct 
the sacking of Soham, and to deposit the accumulated 
spoil for safety in the Isle of Ely, Hinguar pressed 
onward to Newmarket Heath, the entrance to East 
Anglia, hoping to take King Edmund by surprise. He 
found the royal warrior of Christ ready to meet him. 
A skilled general, Edmund had thrown up across the 
heath the dykes known centuries afterwards as " Holy 
Edmund's fortifications." l A trained army under 
Ealdorman Ulfketul defended these two or three lines 
of lofty earth-works, while the king with a second 
army held himself in readiness to march either to the 
seaboard of the east or to the woods and marshes of 
the west, according as the invasion of the barbarians 
might require his presence. Thus at the very gates 
of the kingdom a fearless Christian band opposed 
Hinguar's further progress. At first Ulfketul repulsed 
the enemy, but overwhelming numbers step by step 
won the ground, and after a protracted resistance 

rue ravaging ,.f the English leader and his followers were slaughtered 

Kast Anglia. 

to a man. The invaders rushed over their blood- 
stained corpses into East Anglia. The mad war-cry 
that broke in upon the stillness of night, the burning 
villages that lit up the sky, the flying people, heralded 
the enemy's approach. In addition to the usual acts 
of violence and bloodshed which everywhere marked 
the invader's passage, they now put to death every 
able-bodied man who was likely to assist the sovereign 

1 There were two according to some, three of these fortifica- 
tions. See Matthew of Westminster, Bonn's edition, vol. i. 
p. 457. 


in his resistance. Thus they depopulated the greater 
part of the north-west of East Anglia, and were 
able to swell their ranks with the strong force which 
they had left behind on the sea-coast or inland to 
cover their possible retreat. 

The Danish chief made directly for Thetford. the The sackage of 


capital of East Anglia. l Messengers meanwhile 
reached Edmund with news of the enemy's point of 
attack ; but scarcely had he set out at the head of 
a numerous force to hurry to the assistance of his 
brave general, when he heard of Ulfketul's defeat 
and of the barbarian advance into the heart of the 
country. The Danes on arriving at Thetford at once 
set to work to enlarge the famous camp, 2 now known 
as Castle Hill, which they had constructed during 
their former invasion. They now raised it high 
enough to overlook the besieged city and to com- 
mand a view of the opposite hills, from which direc- 
tion they expected that Edmund's force would appear 
against them. The city soon fell into their hands. 
By stealth a few of them made an entrance into the 
place, and to the consternation of the surprised 
citizens it was soon enveloped in a mass of flames. 
As the savages patrolled the streets in disorderly 
gangs, they cut the throats of the children and 
threw them on one side to die. No prayer moved 
them to pity or stayed their knife ; they slew alike 
the old and young ; matrons and virgins were 
dragged to shame and death ; husband and wife sank 
dying or dead at the threshold of their homes ; 
children snatched from the breast were slaughtered 

1 St. Abbo refers to Thetford, and not to Bures, as Arnold 
suggests, in the words, "ab urbe longius," the city some distance 
from Heglesdune. 

2 This artificial mound is 110 yards in diameter, 260 in cir- 
cumference, and 110 feet high, with very steep-pitched sides. 
See Rye's "Tourists' Guide to Norfolk," p. 114. 



before the eye of distracted mothers. The impious 
marauders sacrificed the whole population to the 
cruelty of their bloodthirsty chief. 
en At length, fatigued rather than surfeited with the 

quires after 

st. Edmund, carnage, Hinguar summoned to his presence a few 
of the old serfs whom he considered unworthy of 
his sword, and inquired of them the king's move- 
ments. He knew by experience as well as by report 
that " the glorious King Edmund, in the flower of 
his age, robust of body, and skilled in all martial 
exercises," l would not be behindhand in taking the 
field. He wished, however, to make certain of the 
king's strength before encountering him in battle. 
Edmund was halting on his march at Heglesdune, 
a place some distance from the capital, one of his. 
favourite retreats, and a convenient position for recon- 
noitring the enemy. Hinguar's prisoners, well aware 
of their sovereign's movements, tremblingly answered 
that the king with a large army tarried at Heglesdune 
on the banks of the Waveney. Then, knowing the 
royal character, they added that he would soon con- 
tinue his march. The Danish leader at once called 
in his marauders, who were scattered over the neigh- 
bourhood. He hesitated to meet Edmund on equal 
terms. His followers, he knew, cared for plunder 
rather than fighting. They preferred the concealment 
of the forest or the protection of camp and hill, till 
they could make their raids under the cover of 
darkness and without fear of opposition. Only 
when taken by surprise or cut off from their boats 
could they be brought to bay, and then they fought 
with all the energy of desperation. 

Andcontem- So Hinguar on this occasion cunningly thought to 

plates his 

submission. avoid a struggle. Inflated with success, he imagined 
he could awe Edmund into submission by threats 
1 St. Abbo. 


and promises. The history of his victorious career 
in the north would, he flattered himself, bring the 
royal warrior to agree to any terms he might deign 
to dictate. Accordingly he resolved to demand half 
the treasures of the kingdom, then, to show his 
clemency, to allow Edmund to reign as his vassal. 
The tyrant also purposed to force the saint to re- 
nounce the faith of Christ. In course of time he 
hoped that some pretext would arise for completing 
the humiliation of his enemy and supplanting him 
altogether. Thus he could spare his troops and 
satisfy both ambition and revenge. 

Full of caution, for he recognised the comparative 
fewness of his numbers, and trusting to the power 
of insolence and boast, Hinguar despatched one of 
his roughest followers with a message to King Edmund. 

When the messenger arrived at Heglesdune, and He sends an 

insolent mess 

was ushered into the royal presence, he vaimtingly to the saint - 
represented his master's absolute power by land and 
sea, the dread in which the nations held him, and 
the recent submission of Scotland, Northumbria and 
Mercia to his invincible hosts. He had now re- 
turned, he said, to subject East Anglia to his sway 
and thereby to complete the subjugation of Britain. 
The envoy then peremptorily laid down the terms 
upon which alone peace was possible, viz., the sur- 
render by Edmund of half his treasures, and the 
subordination of himself and kingdom to Hinguar. 
The messenger proceeded to demand instant sub- 
mission to these merciful terms. " If you resist," 
he insultingly added, " your obstinacy will let loose 
upon your country our countless hordes. Your folly 
will render you unworthy of kingdom or life. And 
who are you," concluded the haughty pagan, " who 
dare to match yourself again and again with us, 
when the fiercest sea-storms impede not our oars, 


when the thunders of heaven and the river cataracts 
refuse to hurt us and all the elements declare in 
our favour. Submit to our leader, whom nature 
herself obeys. He knows how to spare the humble 
and to break the neck of the haughty." 
The hopeless- . This bold ultimatum caused no little consternation 

new of the 

hmti*n can-*?. am0 ng the king's attendants. Their case seemed 
hopeless. Half the forces of the country had been 
cut to pieces ; future defeat or victory would equally 
ruin their cause, since the enemy was exhaustless, 
and Hiuguar's latest policy deprived them of all 
means of repairing their losses. Xo alternative pre- 
sented itself but to sacrifice their Christianity and 
accept the paganism of the invader. 
The holy king Edmund alone remained calm and self-possessed 

is calm and 

in the midst of his followers. He bade the messen- 
ger retire : then, turning to the aged bishop of 
Elmham at his side, he asked what answer would be 
expedient. The bishop, out of love for his prince, 
instanced the example of some who had yielded to 
the torrent by flight The saint with head bent in 
thought and eyes fixed upon the ground listened in 
silence. When the bishop had finished speaking, he 
paused a moment, and in his humiliation a groan 
escaped him. " bishop ! " he murmured, " that we 
should live to see this day ! Behold ! with drawn 
sword a barbarous invader threatens our noble people 
with destruction and our poor country with ruin ! 
Would that, even at the cost of my life, those of 
my subjects who fear a struggle with the enemy 
might save their lives for the present, in order to 
restore one day our homes and fatherland .' " The 
king thus bravely hoped, by a bold resistance on his 
own part and on that of his faithful soldiers, to pre- 
serve a remnant of his people, and save his country 
from the enemies of his faith and liis God. 


Bishop Humbert entertained no such hope. He Bishop Humbert 

presses flight. 

knew too well the number and obstinacy of the 
Norsemen tribes. "Who of your subjects will sur- 
vive ? " he asked. Then he argued that, since for 
five years the victorious hosts of the enemy, wherever 
they met opposition, had spared neither town nor 
village, neither rich nor poor, neither young nor old, 
they would make no exception of East Anglia ; already 
they had depopulated half the kingdom and levelled 
its capital to the ground ; their swords were blunt 
with the massacre of his soldiers ; now they 
attempted the king's person and liberty. " O king I 
half of my soul ! " pleaded the bishop, apprehensive 
for his sovereign's life, " unless you bend to the storm by 
taking refuge in the court of some neighbouring prince, 
or by disgracefully surrendering yourself to a heathen 
vassalage, capture with torture and death awaits you." 

The alternative of martyrdom which Humbert put Edmund prefers 


before him presented no terrors to the strong-souled 
Edmund. " The supreme wish of my life," he 
fervently exclaimed, " is to die for my people. I 
desire not to live and see the inhuman pagans slay 
my beloved subjects." 

The majority of the wise men of the realm ap- 
proved the course of action suggested by the holy 
prelate. The blood mantled to the monarch's cheeks 
as he answered them : " What do you suggest ? That 
I should tarnish my fair name by flight ? If I 
defend not my people or abandon them in my own 
safety, I am a traitor to my country, and my life 
will be unbearable," 

He was equally immovable on the point of reign- Tb saint re- 
ing under Hinguar. "The Almighty Disposer of allw 
things be my witness," he said, "that under Christ 
only will I reign. To Him I belong by baptism, 
wherein I renounced Satan and his heathen followers. 


Be it said to the praise and glory of the Holy 
Trinity, I have been consecrated to God by the 
threefold unction of chrism : first, after receiving the 
white robe of baptism ; then, by the pontiffs sign 
of the cross upon my forehead at confirmation ; 
lastly, when your acclamations and those of the 
whole people called me to the kingly office in the 
solemn rite of coronation. Thus appointed by God 
and consecrated to rule and guide my people and to 
bring them to Christ, I spurn to bow my neck 
save in the divine service." 

his t counS en to er ^ e ma( ^ e li^ 6 difficulty about relinquishing half 
heathenism. ^[ s treasure. Would that he could purchase 
peace and prevent bloodshed at so small a cost ! But 
these unbelieving Danes told him that he must be 
dependent upon them for the life and riches which 
God had given him. They demanded that he should 
rule his subjects no longer as God's, but as their 
vicegerent. Was he free to do so ? What did his 
Christian faith and conscience tell him ? that it was 
wrong to renounce the service of God and transfer 
his allegiance to a pagan, and sinful to deny the 
rights of his Creator and acknowledge them in 
the creature. And who could tell what the enemies 
of the true God, besotted with idolatrous principles, 
might demand of him after he had become their 
vassal ? He made up his mind to refuse Hinguar's 
terms unless he embraced Christianity. From that 
decision he swerved by no second thought. " I 
have vowed," he said firmly, " to live under Christ 
alone, to reign under Christ alone." 

st. Edmund's Edmund's dauntless words kindled an unwonted 

Hinguar. enthusiasm in the breasts of his soldiers. Political 

prudence, or rather cowardice, no longer prevailed. 

All resolved never to submit to paganism, and, if 

need be, to die for God and their country. The 


king now gently bade the Danish envoy approach 
and hear his answer. " You deserve," he said, " in- 
stant death for coming here with your hands reeking 
with the blood of my people ; but, having before 
my eyes the example of Christ, my Master, I will 
not stain my innocent hands. Now, therefore, return 
quickly to your leader and take him our answer. 
His threats and promises affect us no more than 
those of the evil one of whom he is the principal 
follower. His insatiable greed may consume the 
wealth of the country, and even break to pieces the 
fragile vessel of our bodies, but our Christian liberty 
we shall never subject to him. It is more glorious 
to maintain our liberty, if not by arms, at least by 
the merit of our cause, than to sacrifice it with 
ignominy, and afterwards to incur the penalty of 
treason if we should dare claim it again. We will not 
make ourselves the slaves of God's enemies, or 
allow impious superstitions to obtain in our land. 
And, if the worst comes to the worst, from its 
prison-house my soul shall fly to heaven free. As 
you have treated my servants, you may treat me, 
drag me from the throne, deceive, insult, load me 
with blows, put me to death. The King of kings 
will mercifully regard these sufferings and translate 
me, as I hope, to eternal life to reign with Him. 
Know therefore that, unless your master first become 
a servant of the true God, for no love of temporal 
life will the Christian king Edmund submit to him. 
He prefers to remain standard-bearer in the camp of 
the Eternal King!" 

Like another Judas Machabeus Edmund now pre- Edmund fight* 

the battle of 

pared for battle. Bishop Humbert, won by the saint s Thetrord. 
heroism, helped and encouraged him. The soldiers, 
reassured by their commander's bold front, received 
the order to arm with that quiet but resolute emo- 


tion which the " Arm ! arm ! ye brave," of holy 
Machabeus inspired. " How noble and necessary 
a thing it is," exclaimed the king, as he mustered his 
forces in order to continue the march to Thetford ; 
"to expose our lives for our religion and country, 
and not to desert those whose defence the love of 
God bids us take up ! " The Christian army soon 
reached Thetford plain. The Danes had fortified 
themselves in their huge and lofty entrenchment. 
Edmund with his men crossed the river Waveney 
and occupied the opposite hill. It was a dark and 
bleak November morning when the two armies joined 
battle on the plain between Melford and Carford 
bridges, a place still dotted over with the Tuthill 
and the some ten or dozen other mounds which 
cover the bones of the slain. For seven hours the 
battle raged, each party alternately hoping and fear- 
ing. The royal saint showed himself a formidable 
champion that day. His strong arm mowed down 
the enemy like grass. The Danes fled when they 
caught sight of his tall form and piercing eye. 
Everywhere his sword seemed to glitter in the melee. 
Many a Dane fell in that struggle side by side with 
Christian martyrs. 

As the early gloom of the wintry afternoon came 
on, Hinguar and his men took refuge in their camp, 
leaving Edmund master of a field red with the best 
and noblest blood of England and Denmark. Sorrow- 
fully and with a heavy heart the holy king gazed 
upon the dead and dying that lay around him. He 
mourned for his own soldiers, though he hoped to 
meet them in heaven, for had they not died for the 
faith of Christ? But he more deeply grieved for 
the Danes, many of whom, it was well known, had 
embraced the Christian faith in Denmark, and after- 
wards abandoned it. Now it was to be feared that 


their lot would be cast with the rebellious and defiant 
angels. The carnage on every side, the groans of 
men passing to judgment, his own sword wet with 
blood, so affected the saintly monarch, that he deter- 
mined not to follow up his victory, but to retire to 
Heglesdune with his few surviving men, there to 
prepare himself |byj prayer and counsel for what might 
happen next. 



St. Edmund's Passion. 

[Authorities The Bodleian MS. 240, in the absence of the " Prolixa Vita," is the most 
complete collection extant of the Acts of St. Edmund and gives in full the 
traditional last words and prayers of the saint which St. Abbo embodies in 
the holy king's parley before the battle of Thetford. The monk of Fleury's 
" Vita et Passio Sancti Edmundi" is, however, the most authentic narrative of 
the martyrdom, though it omits some minor details, only to be picked up 
here and there in other independent records. The Benedictine Lydgate puts 
into verse all the touching details of the royal martyr's last sufferings, which 
he gathered from the accumulated traditions and manuscripts in his abbey 
library. Richard of Cirenctster among others has enriched his Chronicle 
with a beautiful and finished history of Edmund's martyrdom. Mr. Thorpe 
in his " Analecta Anglo-Saxonica," pp. 119-12(5, lias printed the Anglo-Saxon 
" Passion of St. Edmund," MS. Bodl. X.E.P. 4. 12. f 62 xii. cent., as an inter- 
esting specimen of the dialect of East Anglia. Of this Anglo-Saxon narrative 
the British Museum possesses three manuscripts of the 10th and 12th centuries, 
but two of them are mere fragments preserved from the fire of 1731. A fourth 
copy, to which however the prefatory letter to St. Dunstan is wanting, 
Archbishop Parker gave to the public library of Cambridge, where it may still 
be seen, MS. I.I. 28, f 2U7. Mostly translations from St. Abbo, they serve 
to show the popularity of the royal saint with the laity. Caseneuve, the 
iast of the great martyr's biographers, gives a detailed account of St. Edmund's 
passion, taken chiefly from Matthew of Westminster, from whom Cressy 
boiTowed his description. English medieval chroniclers almost without excep- 
tion, and later historians of the 9th century also record the glorious mar- 
tyrdom of " Blessed King Edmund of East Anglia " with more or less detail. 

st. Edmund ON his way back to Heglesdune with the remnant of 
his army, Edmund still pondered over the terrible 
bloodshed in which he had taken so active and yet 
so unwilling a part. Had not the voice of conscience 
bidden him defend the trust which God had com- 
mitted to his keeping ? Had not duty called upon 
him to oppose to the utmost the relentless destroyer 
of the homes and altars of his country ? God, he 
well knew, hated the unnecessary spilling of blood, 
but only in the service of the God of Armies had 
he carried war into the camp of the enemy. Other- 
wise, throughout his reign he had especially avoided 


the shedding of blood, desiring thus to honour the 
passion and the death of Christ, the remembrance of 
which now. prompted the heroic desire to lay down 
his life for his people. As our Divine Saviour 
delivered himself up to the Jews to be put to death, 
so he determined to likewise surrender himself to 
his persecutors to die for his nation. 

Shortly after his arrival at Heglesdune the news ^deJwn* 
came of a fresh Danish inroad into the country. people* 
Hubba, having completed the destruction of Ely and 
Soham, had set out with his army to relieve his 
brother at Thetford and to aid him in the subjuga- 
tion of East Anglia. An additional army, numbering 
ten thousand men, was thus let loose upon the king- 
dom. With such odds it would have been madness 
for Edmund to continue the struggle. The flower 
of his army had perished. The invaders had scattered 
the brave men on whom he might reasonably have 
relied for further help. Resistance and defeat made 
the Danes more desperate, and the fresh addition to 
their numbers placed the whole land utterly at their 
mercy. One thought alone now occupied the saint's 
mind. How could he most effectually protect his 
country from further outrage ? How give it peace ? 
How preserve for his people the Christian faith ? 
The venerable Bishop Humbert again besought him, 
if only for the sake of bringing back to the 
land the faith of Christ, to save himself by 
flight. But blessed Edmund knew that his flight He refuses to 


would not save the people. The invaders would 
only more ruthlessly put to the sword every 
man who might help him to return. l His death 
alone would end the conflict and stop the slaughter. 

1 St. Edward the Confessor would often quote St. Edmund's 
principle, " malle se regno carere quod sine labe et sanguine 
obtineri non posset." (Brev. Rom., Oct. 13.) 


Hinguar, who entertained a personal hatred against 
him as a rival and enemy, would be doubly 
satisfied with his life. Never before had the 
fearless blood of his race flowed more gloriously 
through Edmund's veins, as with heroic charity he 
simply said, " Bishop Humbert, my father, it is 
needful that I alone should die for my people, and 
that the whole nation should not perish." " Generous 
soul," exclaims Caseneuve in the enthusiasm of his 
southern nature, " worldly glory prompted him to 
seek death in the breach at the head of a few fol- 
lowers ; on the other hand, the love of God and 
duty to his subjects promised him nothing less than 
eternity, should he imitate Him who renounced the 
aid of legions of angels, and for mercy's sake willingly 
met torments and death. I leave you to think 
whether this soul, who from infancy breathed only 
for heaven, would choose this world or the next." 
The saint pre- Having made up his mind for that heroic act than 
his persecutors, which none is greater, * Edmund prepared without 
delay to meet his death. A little band of faithful 
soldiers still clung to him. Before bidding them 
farewell, he recommended submission to God's severity. 
While explaining his own willingness to die, the 
resolute martyr forbade further resistance and blood- 
shed on the part of the rough warriors who would 
gladly have defended him with their life. But, as 
big tears rolled down their cheeks, he calmly dismissed 
them to make their retreat in safety. Then, by the 
advice of Bishop Humbert, he bent his steps to the 
church, " to show himself a member of Christ." 2 He 
unbuckled his sword and laid down his spear. " Lay- 
ing aside his temporal arras," writes Matthew of 

1 St. John xv. 13 : "Greater love than this no man hath that 
a man lay down his life for his friends." 
2 St. Abbo and Matthew of Westminster. 


Westminster, " he put on the armour of heaven." 
Prostrate before the altar, with his forehead on the 
pavement, he poured out his soul in prayer. " Sweet 
Saviour ! " he murmured, " behold me a willing sacri- 
fice. Whatever torments Thy enemies inflict I am 
ready to endure for Thy name. By sufferings like 
Thine I desire to come to Thee, my Jesus. Give 
me firmness and strength. With the burden of a 
crown I charged myself with the imperfections of 
my people ; may my death propitiate Thee to remove 
the scourge with which Thou afflictest them for my 

Meanwhile Hinguar, no longer concerned at the The pagans tak. 
slaughter of his troops, had left Thetford, and with 
his whole army moved towards Heglesdune. The 
king's resolve was kept no secret from the Danish 
leaders. The Christian Edmund would not submit 
to heathen masters, nor would he fly ; he would be 
no party to the shedding of more Christian blood, 
but most willingly offer his life for Christ's faith 
and his people's safety. The pagan host, increased 
by Hubba's ten thousand men, was actually surround- 
ing Heglesdune, while Edmund, with his heart and 
soul " fixed on Christ, his Saviour," knelt unmoved 
before the altar with St. Humbert only by his side. 
No defence was attempted. The gates of the palace 
stood open. With orders to touch no one but the 
king, the pagans rushed in, and with loud shouts 
made their way to the church. l 

1 An oft told fable falsified by .authentic history relates that 
St. Edmund fled before his martyrdom and concealed himself 
under the arch of a bridge, where he was discovered through his 
golden spurs by a newly married couple, who betrayed him to the 
Danes. This old woman's story is altogether opposed to historical 
evidence, and at once dishonourable to our saint, who "yielded 
himself to their torments to save more Christian blood," and dis- 
ditable to his loving subjects. It would have been totally 


st h Edmund. f Tnen " tlie most merciful King Edmund" entered 
upon a passion closely resembling that of our Divine 
Saviour. Dragged from the church, as was his great 
Exemplar from the garden of Gethsemane, bound 
with cruel thongs, the innocent king stood before 
the impious leader, as Christ stood before Pilate. l 
TUG martyr's In this position of ignominy the Christian cham- 
pion lost none of his royal dignity. Though his 
bearing had nothing in it of the self-conscious hero, 
it became a martyr, while it displayed the majesty 
of a prince. Hinguar reproached the saint with the 
murder of Lothparck ; he accused him of perjury and 
the violation of those laws of charity which were 
enjoined by the religion which he so loudly professed. 
Hinguar's self-constituted tribunal had no authority to 
oblige Edmund to render an account of his actions. 
He therefore refused to answer before it or to make 
useless declarations of innocence. He remembered the 
conduct of Christ before Herod, and, conscious that God 
at least was witness of his guiltlessness, kept silence. 
His firmness -^y mockery and threats the pagans next attempted 

to move him from his allegiance to Christ. " Living 
or dead," he answered, " nothing shall separate me 
from the love of Christ." Eejecting bland promises 
he fell back on those eternal truths which he had 
learnt in youth, and remained staunch and immovable. 
Menaced with frightful torments and death, he boldly 
addressed the tyrant : " My body you can break ; my 

ignored in these pages, had not the bridge over the Golden Brook, 
as it is called, been rebuilt to perpetuate the fable. It is to be 
hoped that the true origin of the Golden Brook may be discovered, 
and form an addition to the facts of history, without lessening 
the reputation of one of the noblest and bravest of our Anglo- 
Saxon kings, whose popularity East Anglians have ever lovingly 
tried to increase by cherishing all the traditions of their country 
regarding him. 
1 St. Abbo. 


soul's liberty you cannot bind. Triumphant, I shall 
ascend to reign with the Eternal King." Eemoved 
from every friend, and with none but rough soldiers 
around him, the saint's firmness never wavered. 
" Christ's faith," sings the poet of his life, " was his 
mighty shield." Unshaken he stood, his eyes fixed 
upon heaven, commending himself " unto the grace 
of that Lord both one and two and three." 

The Danish soldiers struck him with their cudgels Th e scene of ti.e 


even in the mouth l as they led him to the outskirts 
of the wood close by, where the scene of his martyr- 
dom was to be enacted. It was a cold and cheerless 
Monday in November. A leaden sky hung over- 
head, and the wind moaned through the gaunt and 
naked trees. To an oak on the borders of the forest 
the savages bound their victim fast, having first 
stripped him of every mark of royalty. 2 In the 
open space around, the stage on which the tragedy 
of a king's murder and a saint's martyrdom was to 
take place, stood several groups of the worst men 
that the pagan army could produce. Some of these, 
skilled bowmen, clanged their bows and whetted 
their arrow-points ; others held in their hands whips 
and clubs ; a few guarded the aged Humbert. Around 
the open space had collected a crowd of spectators, 
thousands of Danes, imbrued with the blood of 
English priest and thane, and here and there among 
them stealthily arid timidly some of the martyr's 
own subjects. Thus many eye-witnesses, like the 
saint's own sword-bearer, could tell in after days the 
story of King Edmund's martyrdom. 

At a sign from Hinguar the sharp lash descended The Danes 

cruelly scourgo 

on the shoulders of the innocent king. No spectator the saint - 
dared utter a word of pity, and the saint made no 

1 Some of the martyr's teeth were found wanting afterwards. 

2 They left on him his camisium, or under-garment. 


complaint. The silence was only broken by the 
thud of the whips and a tearful voice murmuring, 
'' Jesus ! Jesus ! " Hinguar, as he watched the signs 
of pain on the saint's face, and the tender body 
quivering under the heavy blows, again and again 
called upon his victim to renounce the faith of 
Christ. The glorious champion only answered by 
invoking the holy name with greater fervour. 
They make him Vexed by the martyr's constancy, the soldiers 

a target for their J J 

ceased their scourging to leave him as a target for the 
sport of the archers. Soon arrow after arrow whizzed 
through the cold, damp air, and unerringly reached 
their sacred mark. Deep they penetrated the tender 
flesh ; earnest and quick the martyr uttered the cry 
of " Jesus ! " The bowmen skilfully directed their 
shafts, so as not to inflict a mortal wound, but yet to 
literally cover the martyr's trembling form with arrows, 
so that, writes St. Abbo, he resembled " an urchin 
whose skin is closely set with quills, or a thistle 
covered with thorns." l A last time Hinguar pressed 
the martyr with the promise of life and kingdom 
"to turn from the faith of Christ and the confession 
of the Holy Trinity." 2 Edmund's thoughts were then 
far away from earth. He answered only by invoking 
the name of Christ. 
And finally cut Baffled by the king's endurance, Hinguar summarily 

off his head. J 

ordered his head to be cut off. With his own hands 

1 "Jam loca vulneribus desunt, nee dura furiosis, 
Tela sed hyberna grandine plura volant." 

" Though now no place was left for wound, yet arrows did not fail 
These furious wretches ; still they fly thicker than winter hail." 
Weever's "Funeral Monuments," pp. 463-4. 

St. Abbo writes: " Eum toto corpore sagittarum telis confo 
diunt, multiplicantes acerbitatem cruciatus crebris telorum jacti- 
bus, quoniam vulnera vulneribus imprimebant, dum jacula jaculis 
locum dabant." 

2 Matthew of Westminster. 


lie dragged the martyr from the blood-stained tree. 
As if raked by iron teeth, the saint's flesh hung 
gashed and pierced upon its frame. The red blood 
soaked his garments and ran down in streams 
upon the ground. With dying lips he prayed : 
" Lord, who of Thy high mercy didst send Thy 
Son to earth to die for us, grant me patience unto 
the end. I yearn to change this world's life for 
Thy blessed company." l While he stood, as a chosen 
victim separated from the flock, waiting for the 

1 <SY. Edmund's Last Prayer, 
" O Lord which of great benevolence, 
Thy blessed Sone sentyst to erthe don, 
To ben incarnat for our greet offence, 
And for our trespace to make redempcion, 
Upon a cros suffre dyst passyon, 
Not of our meryte but of thyn hyh pyte, 
Now grannte me, Lord, of Thy magnificence, 
Off Thyn hyh mercy, and benygnite, 
In my deying to have meke patience, 
And in my passyon for to grannte me 
By meke example to followe the charyte, 
Which Thou haddyst hangyng on the roode, 
Whan Thou lyst deye for our aldir goode. 
Now in myn ende grannte me ful Constance, 
That I may deyen as Thy trewe knyght : 
And with the palme of hool persevannce, 
Performe my conquest oonly for Thy ryght, 
That cruel Ynguar which stant in Thy syght 
May nevir reioysshe nor put in memorye, 
Off my soule that he gat victorye. 
U>i to tyranntys is not victoryous, 
Though they Thy servanntys sleeu of fals hatrede, 
Ffor thylke conquest is more gloryous 
Wher that the soule hath of deth no drede, 
Now blyssed Jesu for myn eternal mede 
Oonly of mercy medlyd with ryght 
Receyve the spirit of me that am Thy knyght." 


Beneath Lydgate's, Abbo's and others' language the line of 
thought given in the text may be traced. 



deathblow, the vision of interior light already refreshed 
his soul. Boughly Hinguar commanded ; meekly the 
king obeyed and stretched forth that consecrated 
head which had so honourably worn the royal 
diadem. While the martyr commended his spirit to 
God, the executioner at one blow severed the head 
from the body. The head rolled on the grass, arid 
the body sank upon the ground. "And so," runs 
the narrative of his passion, on the 20th of Novem- 
ber, in the year of our Lord 870, " Edmund, a sweet 
holocaust to God, purified in the fire of suffering 
with the palm of victory and the crown of justice 
entered into the assembly of the heavenly court." 
He had reigned fifteen years, and had not yet com- 
pleted the twenty-ninth year of his age. 1 
The martyrdom To feast their eyes upon another martyrdom, they 

of St. Humbert. J 

next led into the arena the aged Bishop Humbert, 
Edmund's inseparable companion and counsellor. 
Humbert had welcomed the young prince into East 
Anglia, crowned and consecrated him king, supported 
him in weal and woe. It was becoming that he 
should share in his glorious triumph. Animated 
with the courage of his royal pupil, and on the 
ground red with his blood, the venerable priest 
offered himself as a second holocaust to God. The 
Danish sword struck off his bowed head and Hum- 
bert hastened to receive in heaven the reward of 
his long and faithful service on earth. 
The pagans The pagans threw the two bleeding trunks and the 

throw the re- 
mains ofthe head of St. Humbert among the camp refuse, as prey 

two martyrs 

ramp' 6 the f r carrion birds or prowling wolves. St. Edmund's 
head they kept, so that they might revenge themselves 

1 William of Malmesbury writes that he was in the sixteenth 
year of his reign, which he dates it from the autumn of 855, when 
Edmund landed in England. As the saint is said to have been 
born on Christmas day, he was not thirty years complete on the 
day of his martyrdom. 


still further on the tongue which had so con- 
stantly sounded forth the name of Christ. The 
saint's characteristic sweetness, fixed on every feature 
of the pale face, touched no human chord in Hinguar 
or Hubba's breast. They tossed the sacred head 
of their conquered rival from one to another with 
.savage delight. At last, tired with their inhuman play- 
thing, they threw it outside the camp. There it re- 
mained, till, at the suggestion of the wretched Bern, 
some of the horde carried it into the depth of 
Heglesdune forest and secretly hid it amid the 

tangled briars and underwood. Every precaution which they con- 
ceal in the forest. 

was taken to hinder the few surviving Christians 
from decently burying it with the martyr's body ; 
but, by the providence of God, a native Christian 
watched the proceeding, and, though ignorant of the 
exact spot where the pagans had thrown the precious 
relic, he saw enough to afterwards guide a party in a 
successful search. 



Edmund the Saint, " Kynge, Marty re, and Viryync." 

[Authorities- -All the annalists of St. Edmund's Bury sing the praises of their 
royal patron. The chroniclers of England's other greater abbeys join in the 
chorus. St. Abbo especially, in his office for the feast of St. Edmund, brings 
out the martyr's glories. Lydgate's " Life and Acts of St. Edmund the King 
and Martyr," Harleian MS. 48:20, and more particularly his preface of twenty- 
two stanzas, are one song of praise. Scattered everywhere throughout other 
works bearing on the history of the saint occur innumerable encomiums of 
our ancestors on his holy memory.] 

rue martyr's THE panegyric of St. EcliiiuncVs virtues cannot be 

IKinegyric. . 

more opportunely written than now, while the events 
of his life and martyrdom are fresh in the memory. 
The extraordinary cultus afterwards paid to the 
martyr king arose not from the many or few exploits 
of his life, but from his strikingly Christian character. 
Edmund in his life and martyrdom illustrated the 
highest principles which can guide a man and ruler. 
The Church placed before the English people this 
rare model for their enthusiastic admiration and 

at. Edmund's Apart from the heroism of his death, posterity 
would have justly pronounced Edmund a saint. Had 
he never received the crown of martyrdom, the 
Church would doubtless have venerated him as one 
rivalling in beauty and holiness of character the 
blythe and gentle Edward the Confessor. 

From his earliest years God surrounded His ser- 
vant Edmund with the signs by which He is 
accustomed to distinguish those whom He designs to 
make the special objects of His grace. Edmund was 


a child of promise ; miraculous signs ushered in his 
birth. In his baptism he received that Catholic faith 
which alone can and does produce saints. Parents 
who were fitted to educate children to reach the 
heights of sanctity had trained him in the spiritual 
life, and at an early age familiarised him with the 
name of Jesus, the sign of the cross, the mystery of 
the Holy Trinity, and the psalter, the foundation of 
the Church's liturgy. 

The psalms of David filled the young prince with HIS spirit or 


that spirit of prayer which was conspicuous through- 
out his life. His thoughts were always heaven- 
wards. His bright, calm and clear eyes had a depth 
in them that told of sublimity of thought and fre- 
quent communing with his Creator. Only a saint's 
love of prayer kept him in retirement during a 
whole year previous to his coronation, and so 
often afterwards withdrew him from the busy high- 
way of the world to one of those favourite retreats 
where he could be alone with God. And, when the 
end came, his persecutors found him kneeling at 
the altar and fortifying himself by prayer against 
the suffering and death which they were preparing 
to inflict upon him. 

He attained an equally heroic degree of humility. His humility. 
He came of a proud and haughty stock ; in majesty 
of mien, in strength of body, in grace of form, in 
beauty of countenance he possessed more than the 
ordinary endowments of his race. His superior 
intelligence and shrewdness won him the favour of 
King Offa ; his prowess and manly bearing gained 
him the allegiance of a kingdom of warriors. In 
the ordinary course these qualities of mind, accom- 
panied with more than usual success in life, would 
have made the young monarch self-willed and im- 
perious. But those who knew him well have handed 



His other 

St. Edmund' 
three crowns 

it down that he was affable and gentle to every 
one, that by his kindly sympathy he won the 
affections of all with whom he came in contact, 
that he fulfilled in himself the words of the 
Wise Man : " Have they made Thee ruler ? Be not 
lifted up, be among them as one of them." His 
humility was markedly displayed in his love of 
counsel. Distrustful of self, timorous of being the 
tool of designing men, he always sought the advice 
of others before acting, though, when once his course 
was clear, he pursued it firmly, yet without ostentation. 

Love of the poor, earnestness in the pursuit of 
virtue, devotion to the Church, self-sacrifice for duty 
were among the other characteristics of this royal 
saint, while his spirit of study and veneration for his 
elders mark him out as the patron of young men 
and students, and his bold and courageous defence of 
his people, his brave resistance to the pagan inroad 
rank him with St. George, St. Maurice, St. Eustace 
and St. William as a patron of soldiers. 

St. Edmund's chief glories are symbolised under the 
figure of three crowns. With arrows through them 
saltierwise these crowns form the arms of old St. 
Edmund's Bury, and, unembellished, those of East 
Anglia. They typify St. Edmund's kingship, martyr- 
dom and virginity. Lydgate assigns them a heavenly 
origin by picturing them as glittering upon the 
banneret which St. Edmund bore in his hand at the 
slaying of King Sweyn : 

" In which [banneret] off gold been notable crownys thre, 

The first tokne, in cronycle men may fynde, 

Grauntyd to hym for Royal dignite : 

And the second for virgynte : 

For martyrdom the thrydde : in his sufferyng 

To these annexyd, Feyth, Hope, Charyte. 


In tokne he was martyr, mayde, and king, 
These thre crownys King Edmund bar certeyn, 
When he was sent be grace of Goddis hond, 
At Geyneburuh for to slew Kyng Sweyn." 

In the concluding verses of his description of the 
saint's death the poet again enumerates the dignities 
represented by the three crowns : 

"And with that woord he gan his nekke enclyne, 

His hed smet of, the soule to hevene went ; 

And thus he deyde, kynge, martyre, and virgyne. " 

No further words are needed to show how St. saint Edmund 

" Kynge." 

Edmund wore his kingly crown. He regarded his 
royal office as a trust from the King of kings, under 
whom he undertook to administer mercy and justice, 
and to whom, as to his superior Lord and Master, 
he was prepared to render an account. He pre- 
ferred to die than to rule under a master whom he 
regarded as an enemy of God, and whose probable 
exactions his conscience told him that he could not 
submit to. Edmund came into closer contact with his His i ove fol . i, is 
people and country than sovereigns do now-a-days. pe 
His subjects numbered only a few thousands, and 
his kingdom embraced no more than two or three of 
our present English counties. His specific duties were 
not therefore so very different from those of many 
a great landowner of the nineteenth century. Carlyle, 
while holding him fit to govern an empire, delights 
to call him " Landlord Edmund." How did he live 
this life to which his Maker called him ? How did 
he discharge those duties of his station by which he 
became a saint ? He had difficulties, but instead of 
making them greater he overcame them in a "man- 
like and godlike " manner. He rose to favour not 
by rigour, but " by doing justly and loving mercy." 
He walked "humbly and valiantly with God; strug- 


gling to make the earth heavenly as he could ; 
instead of walking about sumptuously and pridefully 
with mammon, leaving the earth to grow hellish 
as it liked." 1 And so it happened that, petty sovereign 
though he was, he gained universal love and admira- 
tion. Englishmen proudly ranked him with Con- 
stantine, Theodosius and Charlemagne. East Anglian s 
considered him the equal of Alfred the Great. 
Christendom honoured him with St. Edward the 
Confessor, St. Stephen of Hungary, St. Ferdinand of 
Castile, St. Canute of Denmark, St. Louis of France, 
as a royal national patron. On earth he was one 
of those of whom it is written, "The kings of the 
earth shall serve Him." 2 In heaven with the four 
and twenty ancients he pays homage to the Saviour> 
" casting down his crown before the throne and 
adoring Him who liveth for ever and ever." 3 
aMart E e d '" UDd Martyrdom graces St. Edmund's brow with a second 
crown. The St. Sebastian of England, St. Abbo 
styled him, and the "Flos Martyrum," the Flower 
of English martyrs. 

In the ninth century the Norsemen threatened 
the Christianity of England with utter destruction. 
Edmund stood forth as its defender, and in his 
death bore witness to the greatness and holiness of 
the name of Jesus, and to the mystery of the 
Blessed Trinity. The pagans captured him, scourged 
him, pierced him with arrows, beheaded him, but 
they gained no victory. He held to his sacred 
principles to the last. And his death gave the 
Christian cause new life. His fearlessness roused the 
flagging spirits of the English ; his martyrdom put 
clearly before his contemporaries the interests at 
stake. By his example our after kings were spurred 

1 " Past and Present," pp. 45 et seq., edit. 1843. 

2 Ps. Ixxi. 3 Apoc. iv. 10. 


on to an uncompromising resistance. Finally Edmund 
prevailed ; for, when Alfred made peace with the 
enemy, Christianity had won, and when the Danes 
returned to rule East Anglia, they did so on the 
terms which Edmund had dictated with his last 

The royal martyr did battle also for the liberty The martyr of 

J J English free- 

of his people. The East Anglians always remem- d '- 
bered him as their protector against slavery. When 
king or noble attacked their liberties, they confidently 
had recourse to " Father Edmund." So four hundred 
years after the martyr's death the barons of England 
knew no more appropriate place of meeting than 
beside his tomb, to draw up under his auspices 
the great charter of English freedom, the basis of 
Britain's present constitutional liberties. 

England honours seven royal martyrs: St. Eorpwald, Tiie chief or 

> J ' royal martyrs. 

St. Sigebert, St. Annas, St. Oswald, St. Ethelbert, St. 
Edward, St. Edmund. Of them all St. Edmund held 
the first place in the devotion of our forefathers. The 
poet of Eufford Abbey indicates his reputation among 
his countrymen in the following lines : 

" Utque cruore suo, Gallos Dionysius ornat, 

Grsecos Demetrius, gloria quisque suis ; 

Sic nos Edmundus nulli virtute secundus, 

Lux patet, et patriae gloria magna sure. 

Sceptra maims, diadema caput, sua purpura corpus 

Ornat ei, sed plus vincula, mucro, cruor. " 

As Denis by his death adorneth France, 

Demetrius Greece, each credit to his place, 
So Edmund's virtue doth our land advance, 

A shining light, the glory of his race. 
Crown, sceptre, robe, his brow, and limbs enhance, 

But bonds and blood and sword still more his person 

Virginity adorns St. Edmund in Catholic eyes saint Edmund 

** '* 

with the most precious of his crowns. William of 


Malmesbury bears witness that, "though he presided 
over the province for many years, yet never through 
the effeminacy of the times did he relax his virtue." 1 
Nobler than his kingly honour or his martyr's 
courage was that life-long continency by which he 
overcame the direst of his enemies, and graced his 
person with the purest of dignities. So Christendom 
revered him as pre-eminently the chosen and beloved 
follower of Christ, another St. John the Evangelist. 
Medieval England loved him as the St. Aloysius of 
his country. In memory of his angelic purity, pos- 
terity named his palace by the clear blue waters 
of the ocean, a fitting picture of his own soul, 
Maidenboure, or the Virgin Kinys House.* For, 
sings the monk -poet, "he was martyr, mayde and 
kyng." And "he deyde kynge, martyre and 

In sublime language St. Abbo proclaims this 
crowning glory of our saint, and its reward on 
earth. " We can gauge," he writes, " the saintly 
martyr's holiness in life by the spotless beauty, as 
it were of a risen body, which his mortal flesh bore 
stamped upon it after death. The Catholic fathers," 
continues the great abbot of Fleury, " extol those 
endowed with the glorious gift of virginity by point- 
ing out the singular privilege which is granted to it. 
As they say, even unto death, these saints, by a 
continual martyrdom of themselves, preserve their 
flesh inviolate. After death they are justly recom- 
pensed by the enjoyment even here of perpetual 
incorruption. What is greater in the Christian 
faith," concludes St. Abbo, " than for a man to 
obtain by grace what an angel has by nature ? 

1 Bohn's edit., p. 242. 

2 Maiden is the old Saxon for a person of either sex who is 
chaste, pure and unmarried. 


Hence according to the divine promise virgins 
shall follow the Lamb wheresoever He goeth. l 
Consider then for a moment what kind of man the 
incorruption of Edmund's flesh reveals him to be. 
In the height of kingly power, surrounded by the 
riches and luxuries of the world, he zealously over- 
came himself by trampling the petulancy of the flesh 
underfoot. Let his household 2 in paying him their 
human homage endeavour to please him by that 
purity of life which his incorrupt members show 
that he always loved. If they cannot offer 
him the spotless flower of virginity, let them at 
least keep the love of pleasure within them con- 
tinually mortified. 3 That unseen and impassable 4 
presence of his holy soul will be offended by the 
foulness of any one of his attendants. Upon such 
a one it is to be feared will fall the prophet's terrible 
threat: In the land of the saints lie hath done wicked 
things, and he shall not see the glory of the Lord. 5 
Moved for fear of that tremendous sentence, let us 
implore the patronage of holy Edmund the king and 
martyr, that he may obtain for us and for those 
who worthily serve him the pardon of the sins 
for which we deserve punishment, through Him who 
liveth and reigneth for ever and ever. Amen." 

Finally St. Abbo celebrates the zeal, valour, morti- * 

antipnon sums 

fication and innocence, the principal virtues of St. "f r tue s inartyi * 
Edmund, in an antiphon which the monks sang in 
ancient days in the saint's great abbey-church, the 
holy king's purity and martyr- spirit being respectively 

1 Apoc. xiv. 4. 

2 "Familia." 

3 St. Abbo is speaking to the first guardians of the martyr's 
shrine, some of whom were probably married. 

4 Illocabilis. 

5 Ps. xxvi. 10. 



symbolised under the appropriate emblems of the 
white lily and the red rose : 

Ave Rex gentis Angloruin, 
Miles Regis Angelorum, 
O Edmunde, Flos Martyrum, 
Velut rosa vel liliuin ! 
Funde preces ad Domimim 
Pro salute fidelium. 

Hail, King of the Angles, 
Soldier of the King of Angels. 
O Edmund, Flower of Martyrs, 
Like to the rose and to the lily ! 
Pour forth prayers to the Lord 
For the salvation of the faithful. 



The Translations of St. Edmund's Body. The Witnesses 
of its Incorruption. The Martyr's Relics. 

DEC. 30, A.D. 870. 

[Authorities The earliest record extant of the finding of St. Edmund's head is 
that of the saintly and learned Abbo. He received it with the rest of 
his narrative from St. Dunstan, who himself heard it from an eyewitness. 
Other writers borrow from St. Abbo. William of Malmesbury "subjoins" 
the "unheard-of" miracles as evidencing " the purity of St. Edmund's past 
life," and Malmesbury, according to Archbishop Usher, is "the chief of our 
historians." Leland calls him " an elegant, learned and faithful historian." 
And Sir Henry Saville in his preface ad Gul. Malmsby expresses the opinion 
that amongst all our ancient historians he holds the first place both for the 
fidelity of his narrative and the maturity of his judgment. The Protestant 
centuriators of Magdeburg (tern. 9. 3c. 12), brought face to face with witnesses 
like William of Malmesbury, and unable to reasonably question their state- 
ments, honestly and frankly write : " Edmund, king of the English, warring 
against the Danes for the defence of the Christian faith, was at last overcome 
and suffered martyrdom. His head, which had been hid amongst shrubs, 
called out to those who searched after it." Protestant historians write to the 
same effect. See Camden's " Brit.," f. 414, Holinshed, lib. vi. c. xii. Fox alone, 
without adducing any arguments, rashly pronounces all the miracles fictitious. 
Besides William of Malmesbury, Matthew of Westminster also gives a full 
account of the finding of the royal martyr's head, and the monk Lydgate puts 
the whole narrative into his flowing verse.] 

AFTER the martyrdom of King Edmund the pagans The Danes 

retire from 

met with no further opposition. Secured from attack, Hegiesdune. 
they at once prepared to settle down for the winter 
in their saintly victim's kingdom. Hinguar and Hubba 
broke up the camp at Hegiesdune and within a few 
weeks moved their united forces to The t ford, where 
Gothrun, another of the ten sea-kings, joined them 
with a third band. Then the Christian people ven- 
tured forth from their hiding-places in the woods 
and marshes, and their first impulse led them to 



search for the body of their good and gentle king. 
They found it lying headless and unburied, exposed 
to sky and weather, in the open field where the 
champion of Christ had fallen. Reverently they 
lifted the martyred corpse and with tears and sobs 
Washed its ghastly wounds. But, when they could 
nowhere discover the head, the plaint of the assembled 
people became loud and heartrending. 
The Christians A monk l in the crowd then opportunely related how 

search for the . . 

martyr's head, he had seen the Danes carry it into the thick or 
the great forest ; and under his guidance they began 
hurriedly to search the neighbouring woods. Had 
the Providence of God frustrated the enemy's plans? 
Would the long grass, the briars and the dense under- 
wood protect the anointed head of their beloved 
king ? Had the prowling wolves desecrated or de- 
voured it ? With these thoughts in their minds 
they anxiously sought for their missing treasure 
under the gaunt bare trees throughout the whole 
day. When the shades of evening fell, they sig- 
nalled to each other by shouts or blast of horns, 
so that every inch of ground might be examined 
without being traversed twice. Suddenly in the 
gloom they heard the voice of their beloved sovereign 
crying, " Here ! Here ! Here ! " They stood still in 
astonishment, and then hurried to the spot whither 
the voice still summoned them. And behold, in 

They find it 

guarded by a a c j ar k olade of the wood, a strange sight arrested 


their steps. Under the shadows of the trees a huge 
grey wolf couched 2 motionless, and between its 
paws rested the king's head, placid and unharmed. 3 

1 "Quidam nostrse religionis," writes St. Abbo. 

2 ' ' Procumbebat. " 

3 Butler states that a pillar of light revealed St. Edmund's head. 
No chronicler mentions this fact. Oswald Crawfield picturesquely 
describes " The Finding of the head of St. Edmund " in the first 
number of "Black and White" (Feb. 6, 1891, p. 8), in order to 


As they ran up the wolf gently retired, as if its duty 
had ceased. 

Devoutly taking up the precious relic, with tears 
of joy they bore it to the body ; and, though forty 
days had passed, neither body nor head was touched 
or tainted with corruption. The great wolf, "an 
unkouth thyiige, and strange ageyn nature," followed 
the sacred remains to the very grave. Then it went 
back to the woods, and never again did the inhabitants 
see so terrible and fierce a beast. l 

explain a very fine engraving of the event in that journal. 
He writes that after the search " by hill and valley, by river- 
side and by the shore of the sea, the monk Anselm, a man 
who had been much favoured by King Edmund, and the king's 
squire Swithin continued the quest when the others gave 
over. All that fortieth day they spent in the great forest, still 
hopefully seeking for the missing head ; and towards nightfall, 
coming to a dark glade in the wood, they heard a voice that 
seemed to them to be the voice of their master himself, and it cried, 
' I am here ! ' but they perceived nothing, only the shapes of 
wolves that passed to and fro among the shadows of the trees, and 
they heard the bowlings of these savage beasts. They pursued 
their way to where the voice had spoken, and lo ! a strange thing 
and against nature ; for there stood a great wolf, and at its feet lay 
the head of the king with a halo of light above it, and the wolf 
harmed not the head, but guarded it from his fellows ; and, as the 
men ran up, went from them gently and left them. Then Anselm 
and the Squire Swithin, reverently taking up the king's head, 
bore it to the church at Hagilsdun." The saint's biographers 
are silent on all names or details beyond those in the text. 

1 The part played by the wolf has its parallels in sacred history. 
In the presence of God's saints the most ferocious beasts have re- 
gained that tameness which they showed towards Adam before his 
fall. Over the corpse of the prophet of Bethel the lion stood and 
touched neither him nor his ass (3 Kings xiii.) The lions 
injured not the prophet Daniel (Dan. vi.) In the Christian 
dispensation the wild denizens of the forest have equally shown 
reverence for the saints. Pagan Rome beheld the fiercest beasts 
grow gentle in the presence of the martyrs. A lion prepared a 
grave for St. Paul the Hermit. A crow, St. Augustine and St. 
Prudentius relate, defended the body of St. Vincent of Saragossa. 
An eagle, as the Bollandists record (April 23), guarded for thirty 


The lifeless head St. Abbo tlius comments upon " the pleasing inter- 

vention of God " for the honour of his saint : " The life- 
less head emitted a voice, and called upon all who 
searched for it to approach. Kemark, the holy king's 
head lay far from its trunk ; the organs of speech 
received no aid from the sinews of the throat or 
from life ; yet, while those who sought the head 
shouted to one another at each step, saying, Where 
are yon ? Where are you 1 the martyr's head re- 
vealed its hiding place by answering, Here, ! Here ! 
Here ! And it repeated without ceasing the self- 
same word, until it brought all who were in quest 
of it to itself. The dead tongue formed a word as 
though it were alive, showing forth in itself the power 
of the God of language." Hallowed tongue ! Blessed in 
life a thousand times ! Blessed in the torments of 
martyrdom by Jesus' loved and oft repeated name I 
The great Creator justly ordained that it should 
bring honour to the saint to whom for His sake 
it had brought death. l 

clays the body of St. Adalbert, the martyr and apostle of Prussia. 
Three eagles protected from beasts and birds the scattered pieces 
of St. Stanislaus' body (Brev. Rom., May 7). 

The following further history of the wolf is taken from a letter 
of the vicar of Hoxne to the present bishop of Shrewsbury : "In 
digging in some foundations at Bury St. Edmund's, a small stone 
chest was found, which was supposed to contain the bones of a 
child ; but it was soon seen that they were not human boms. They 
were thought to be the bones of a dog. However, they were 
collected and sent to London to be examined by the savants, who, 
knowing nothing about the circumstances, came to the conclusion 
after much consideration that they were the bones of a wolf ! 
doubtless the wolf which had guarded the king's head, and was 
slain and afterwards (so to speak) honoured with Christian burial. 
Such is the story." 

1 The Benedictine Lydgate thus describes the rinding of the 
saint's head : 

" The lord of lordys celestial and eterne, 

Off his peple havyng compassyon, 

Which of his mercy ther clamours can concerne, 


"Praising God, with hymns and canticles," the 
faithful people placed the head with the body, and andbody 
there, on the scene of his triumph under the shadows 
of Heglesdune forest, laid the king to rest in a fresh- 
dug grave. Over the mound they built a rough 

Relese the langour and lamentacion, 

Herde of his goodnesse ther invocacion 

And gaf them comfort of that they stood in drede, 

Oonly be grace to ffynde ther kynges hede. 

With wepying teerys, with voys nioost lamentable 

So as they soughte, walkyng here and there, 

Wheer art thou lord ! our kyng most agreable ! 

Wheer art thou Edmond? shewe us thyn hevenly fi'ace, 

The hed answeryd thryes heer heer heer : 

And nevir cesyd of al the long day 

So for to crye, tyl cam wheer he lay. 

This hevenly noyse gan ther hertys lyght, 

And them releve of al ther hevynesse, 

Namly whan they hadde of the hed a syght, 

Kept by a wolff forge tyng his woodnesse. 

Al this consydred they niekly gan him dresse, 

To thank our lord, knelyng on the pleyn 

Ffor the greet myracle which that they had seyn. 

They thoute it was a merveylle ful unkoutk 

To here this language of a dedly hede. 

But he that gaff in to the assys mouth 

Suych speche of old, rebukyng in his dede 

Balaam the prophete, for his ungoodly hede, 

The sam lord lyst of his greet myght, 

Shewyu this myracle at reverence of his knyght. 

Men hav ek how in semblable caas, 

As bookys olde make mencion, 

How that an herte spake to seynt Eustac, 

Which was first cause of his comision ; 

For God hath poweer and juredyccyon 

To make tongys speke of bodyes that been deed ; 

Record I take of kyng Edmondys heed. 

Of this miracle that Got lyst to hym shewe 

Somme wept for joye, the story berith witnesse, 

Upon ther chekys teerys nat a ffewe 

Distillyd a don of inward kyndnesse. 

They had no poweer ther sobbying to represse. 



wooden chapel. The royal martyr lay buried in this 
humble mausoleum, the best which his subjects could 
raise at the time, until the ravages of war abated 
and Christian piety, stimulated by frequent miracles, 
translated the sacred body to a worthier shrine. 

I, A.D. 903. 

[Authorities The Benedictine Abbo continues to narrate the history of St. 
Edmund's body, but earlier records must have existed, froiii which later 
writers copied such incidents as the cure of the blind man. The Curteys 
Register and the "Liber Ccenobii " place this translation 33 years after the 

The Danes In the early spring of 871 the Danes threw oft' 

invade the 

rest of England, their winter lethargy to begin once more their des- 
tructive march through the length and breadth of the 

Ttween joye and sorrow he signys out shewying 
How greet entirenesse they hadde unto the kyng. 
Thus was ther weeping medlyd with gladnesse, 
And ther was gladnesse medlyd with weping, 
And hertly sobbyng meynt with ther swetnesse 
And soote compleyntes medlyd with sobbyng ; 
Accord discordyng, and discoord accordyng ; 
Ffor of his deth though they felte smerte, 
This sodeyn myracle rejoysshed ageyn ther herte. 
The folkys dide ther lysty dilligence 
This hooly tresour, this relyk sovereign, 
To take it up with dewe reverence 
And bar it fforth tyl they did atteyne 
Unto the body ; and of thylke tweyne 
To gydre set, God by myracle a noon 
Enioyned hem, that they wer made both oon. 
Of ther departyng ther was nothyng seene 
Atween the body and this blyssed hed, 
Ffor they to gydre fastnyd wer so clene 
Except oonly wher sotilly took hed 
A space apperyed brede of a purpyl threed, 
Which God lyst shewe tokne of his suffrance, 
To put his passyon more in remembrance. 


land. But they still kept a firm hold on East Anglia, 
which for over thirty years they made their base of 
operations against the rest of England. Little success, 
however, now attended their expeditions, for the blood 
of their holy victim pursued them. Hinguar died 
within a year, l and Hubba fled the country. On enter- 
ing Wessex the invaders were put to flight in Berkshire- 
King Ethelred and his brother Alfred cut them to 
pieces around Reading. A few clays later, while 
Ethelred knelt and refused to rise till the mass was 
finished, Alfred, trusting to the uplifted hands of 
priest and king, charged the pagans on the plain of 
Ashdune and utterly routed them. Fourteen days 
afterwards, however, they forced Ethelred and Alfred 
to retire from Basing. Yet so conscious were they 
of the change of fortune, that they sent for rein- 
forcements from the mother-country. Alfred had to 
contend witli a newly arrived army of Danes, when 
he succeeded his brother after the Easter of 871. 

With the fresh hordes from Denmark success re- The troubled 

state of East 

turned to the heathen arms. After innumerable Angiia. 
skirmishes and battles by day and night, Alfred 
fled before them. He was no match for an enemy 
whose ranks, however thinned, were at once filled 
up again. Defeat left no impression on the savages. 
If thirty thousand, wrote Asser, were slain in one 
day, others to double that number took their place. 
When one fell, says another chronicler, ten were 
ready to fill the gap. The supply from the Scandi- 
navian wilds seemed unlimited. But in 878 Hubba 
was sighted off the coast of Devon, and the return 
of this man, one of the principal actors in the tragedy 
of St. Edmund's murder, again brought the curse of 
heaven on the arms of his countrymen. Acting on a 
sudden inspiration, the Christians sallied forth from 

1 Ethelwerd's Chronicle, A.D. 870. 


Kynwith Castle on the river Taw and slaughtered 
twelve hundred of the enemy. Hubba met a misera- 
ble death and lost the sacred standard of the Eaven. 
Alfred and his party rallied once more ; and famine, 
cold and fear drove the main body of the Danes 
under Gothrun to sue for peace. At last strife 
Gotimin C 's con- ceased over St. Edmund's grave. Gothrun arid 
succession to thirty of his chosen followers met Alfred at Aller 

St. Edmund's 

throne. i n Somersetshire and received baptism. Alfred him- 

self stood sponsor to the Danish chief, and at the 
same time acknowledged his sovereignty over East 
Anglia. Thus Gothrun, or Athelstan, as he was 
called in baptism, succeeded to the throne of East 
Anglia without opposition. For ten years he laboured 
to give tranquillity to the country and to promote 
the Christian faith. Bishop Wilred, l the successor 

1 The succession of bishops in East Anglia from the time of 
St. Edmund's martyrdom to the removal of the see from Elmham 
to Thctford (continued from pp. 17 and 55). 

WILRED, WYRED or WILBRED, the successor of Weremund 
in the see of Dunwich, according to Wharton ("Anglia Sacra"). 
and Godwin, became bishop of Elmham also after the martyrdom 
of St. Humbert, and, uniting the two dioceses, fixed his see at 

THEODRED I. or TEDRED, afterwards (A.D. 926) bishop of 

THEODRED II., called the Good, the second witness of St. 
Edmund's incorruption. He died in 962. Blomefield, vol. ii. 
p. 323, gives a copy of Theodred II. 's will from the White 
Register of St. Edmund's Bury Abbey. 

ADCLPH, ATIIULF or EADULF, occurs 963. 

AILFRIC I. or ALFRID, in 966. Malmesbury places Athulp and 
Ailfric before the Theodreds. 

ATHELSTAXE or ELSTAN, was consecrated before 975. 

ST. ALGAR succeeded in 1012. 

AILWIN, EGELWIN or BALDWIN, succeeded in 1021. He resigned 
and retired to Hulme in 1032. He was St. Edmund's " Chario- 
teer," &c. 

AILFRIC II., ELFRIC, ALURIC or ELRIC, surnamed the Black, 


of the martyred Humbert, zealously seconded his 
efforts to repair the havoc done to learning and 
piety, and among other works of devotion revived 
the veneration of St. Edmund in the humble chapel 
at Heglesdune. But the efforts of both king and 
bishop in the cause of religion and peace proved 
fruitless, for a fresh danger threatened the kingdom. 

A new adventurer, named Hastings, with countless The death of 

Gothrun and 
fresh trouble 
in East Anglia. 

followers devastated the English coasts and solicited fresh trouw 

East Anglia to join him. Gothrun refused, but, on 
his untimely death in 890, the East Anglian Danes 
without hesitation declared for the new leader. They 
made Norfolk and Suffolk their stronghold and together 
with the Northumbrian Danes swelled the ranks 
of the last invaders in every contest. In different 
parts of the country Alfred drove them back broken 
and shattered over and over again. They returned 
hungry and disorganised to their wives and children, 
ships and treasures in East Auglia, bringing with them 
lawlessness and anarchy. These events kept the The ^^ of 
whole country in a state of agitation and made a A ' D ' a * 
translation of St. Edmund's remains impossible. Not 
till 901 was there a lull in the storm. In that 

died in 1038. He was a considerable benefactor to St. Edmund's 

AILFRIC III., surnamed the Little. He died in 1039. 

STIGAND, having obtained the see by simony, was ejected by 

GRIMKETEL, or GBUNKETEL, who held it together with the 
bishopric of the South Saxons. Malmesbury, " De Gestis 
Pontif.," says, " Pro auro Grimketel electus." 

STIGAND after two years was restored, succeeding Grimketel in 
both sees. In 1047 he took the see of Winchester and the arch- 
bishopric of Canterbury, which he held till the Conqueror's arrival. 
His successor at Elmham in 1047, was 

EGELMAR or ETHELMAB, or , AILMAR, his brother, who was 
deposed in 1070, and 

HERFAST or ARFAST, who removed the see to Thetford, 


year Edward the Elder, Alfred the Great's son, 
ascended the throne of England with all the prestige 
of his father's glorious reign, and with his own in- 
domitable will to strengthen his position. He awed 
East Anglia as well as the rest of Danish England 
into submission. At the time Eric, the successor of 
Gothrun, ruled East Anglia. He was its last 
king, English or Danish. With Edward's help he 
kept his country quiet. The troubles which ended 
in his death had not yet begun to disturb the 
kingdom. Ethelwald the Rebel had not yet " enticed 
the army in East Auglia to break the peace." While 
tranquillity, therefore, reigned throughout the land, 
Bishop Theodred I., Wilred's successor in the see of 
Elmham, determined to exhume the body of the 
martyr and translate it to a more suitable shrine. 
The cure of a ^ great miracle stirred up the feelings of the people 

blind man draws 

Ednmnd"s graved au ^ induced them to second with enthusiasm the 
bishop's efforts. They had almost forgotten the martyr's 
resting-place during the stormy time which followed 
Goth run's death. Frequent miracles took place there, 
as St. Abbo and Malmesbury testify ; some of the 
faithful at times noticed a column of light hovering 
over the shrine from eve-tide till dawn ; but the 
general apathy and neglect continued, till the fol- 
lowing intervention of Providence roused the slumber- 
ing piety of the natives l to once more honour the pre- 
cious remains. One night a blind man and the boy who 
led him were slowly plodding through the woods 
at Heglesdune. Unacquainted with the neighbour- 
hood, apparently far distant from any house, the 
boy suddenly perceived near them what seemed to 
be a hovel or outhouse. Delighted to have some 
refuge from the night and the prowling beasts, the 

1 Malmesbury speaks of the " negligent natives." St. Abbo 
puts the neglect down to the unsettled times. 


boy exclaimed, " Hurrah ! here's a little hut to 
shelter us." " Thank God ! " devoutedly answered the 
blind man. Boldly entering, they fell upon the 
blessed martyr's grave. Though at first horrified at 
finding themselves in a dead man's tomb, they preferred 
it to the open unsheltered forest, and, presuming that no 
one would disturb them in such a place, they fastened 
the door and lay down to sleep, using the grave 
for a pillow. Hardly had they closed their eyes 
when a column of light illumined the whole place. 
The terrified lad awoke his master. " Alas ! alas ! " 
he cried, " our lodging is on fire." The blind man, 
inspired by some divine presentiment, quieted the 
boy. " Hush ! hush ! " he said ; " our host is faithful 
and generous ; no harm will befall us." At dawn to 
the astonishment of his guide the blind man was the 
first to announce daylight, and was able to continue 
his journey without assistance. The report of the 
miracle soon spread. A man blind from his birth 
had received his sight. God had manifested to the 
world the glory and merit of his servant Edmund. 
The East Anglians lamented their past neglect and 
anxiously debated the propriety of removing the 
body of their martyr king to a safer and more hon- 
ourable shrine. 

One place especially suggested itself as suitable Bishop and 

j people deter 

for the purpose, the royal town of Beodricsworth. mine to trans- 

J late the body 

Formerly King Edmund's own, it had descended to the ^ rt, e 1 wlrics " 
Etheling Beodric, who now offered it back to the saint. 
The Danes had destroyed its church and monas- 
tery of St. Mary, which St. Sigebert had founded ; 
but some priests still lived there, who would 
gladly guard the shrine if it were placed in their 

1 " Villa regia qme lingua Anglorum Bedrices-gueord dicitur, 
Latino vero Bedrici-curtis vocatur. " St. Abbo. 


Accordingly clergy and people, thanes and serfs 
st. Edmund. un it e d to construct a church at Beodricsworth which 
might in some degree be worthy of their king's 
remains. The uncertain future forbade delay. Even 
had skilled masons been forthcoming, they could not 
risk the time required for a basilica of stone. So in the 
forest rather than in the quarry they sought material 
for the new edifice. The stateliest oaks were felled 
and their trunks sawn lengthways in halves, which 
the builders made of equal height and reared aloft side 
by side to form the walls of the church. The bark 
or rough side was left outermost ; the interstices 
were filled with mud or mortar. Upon the four 
walls was placed a roof of thatch. Inside this rough 
but lofty and spacious structure l was hung the costliest 
Bishop Theodred tapestry that could be obtained. When all was 

takes up the 

body, ready, Bishop Theodred and the whole clergy of 

East Anglia, with great pomp of ritual and amid 
an immense concourse of nobles and people, went 
in procession to the place of sepulture, singing litanies 
and psalms. With reverence they raised the coffin, 
and, having removed the wooden lid, looked within. 

And finds it A beautiful sight met their gaze. Where they had 

expected to see a heap of dry bones lay the form 
of their martyred king Edmund fair . and peaceful, 
as if resting tranquilly asleep. The crowds who 
pressed forward to look at the saint saw no wound 
or scar or sign of decay on the body. " The sacred 
limbs," says Malmesbury, "evidenced the glory of 
his unspotted soul by a surprising soundness and a 
kind of milky whiteness." The head was found 
miraculously united to the body. Only a purple 

1 A draught of this old church may be seen in the collection 
of antiquities made by Mr. Martin of Palgrave in Suffolk, 
together with some large pictures, manuscript books, and other 
curiosities relating to the abbey of St. Edmund's Bury. 


threadlike seam around the neck bore witness to 
the martyrdom. 1 With tears and prayers the devout 
multitude carried the body to the shrine in the new 
church, there to await in the same peaceful sleep the 
joys of the resurrection. In this manner took place 
the first translation of St. Edmund, thirty -three years 
after the burial at Heglesdune. Before another year 
had passed, war 2 broke out again between the East 
Anglian Danes and the West Saxons, which ended 
only with the amalgamation of East Anglia with the 
rest of England. 



[Authorities The same as for Section 2.] 

The registers of St. Edmund's Bury enumerate 
with lawyer-like precision the several witnesses of 
St. Edmund's incorruption. The devout woman 
Oswene stands first on the list. "Oswene of happy 
memory," says St. Abbo, "till almost our own days 

1 A legend of St. Winifride V.M. relates how she was raised 
to life by St. Beuno and bore ever after, as a sign of her having 
been beheaded, a red circle on her skin about the neck. Butler 
regards this miracle as having no foundation in fact, and seems 
to think with Muratori that many stories of the kind first took 
their rise among the common people from their seeing pictures of 
martyrs with red circles about their necks, by which no more 
was originally meant than that they had been martyred. All these 
miracles are indeed easy to Omnipotence, but must be made 
credible by reasonable and convincing testimony. In the case of 
St. Edmund the proofs of the miracle are overwhelming. 

2 This war fixes the date of St. Edmund's first translation, and 
makes the 55 years of Herman and the 36 of Bodl. 240 improbable. 
Herman gives 55 years, evidently thinking that Theodred II., and 
not Theodred I., presided at this translation. 


bore testimony to the sign of martyrdom around St. 
Edmund's neck." She spent her days in fasting and 
prayer in the martyr's church like devout Anna in 
the temple ; and, as no one looked after the 
shrine, its custody fell to her. By divine revela- 
tion or " through excessive devotion," l this venerable 
woman every Maundy Thursday of her life opened 
the saint's coffin, and combed the dead king's hair 
and pared his nails. " Truly this was a holy temerity," 
exclaims William of Malmesbury, " for a woman to 
contemplate and handle limbs superior to the whole 
of this world." 2 Oswene carefully collected the 
combings of the saint's hair and the parings of his 
nails, and preserved them as priceless relics in a little 
box which she placed upon the altar of the church.* 


[Authorities -St. Abbo, William of Malmesbury, the ' ' Liber Cceuobii Sti Edmundi " 
and the " Vita Abbreviata " of Curteys 1 Register.] 

The two The bishop, Theodred I., who removed St. Edmund's 


body to Beodricsworth, was translated to the see of 
London in the year 925. His namesake, Theodred II., 
called the Good, succeeded him. The Lambeth Codex 
of Curteys' Eegister mentions only one Theodred, and 
adds after his name, " postea Londiniensis." It then 
relates how the same prelate opened the saint's coffin in 
945, forgetting that he had left East Anglia twenty 

1 St. Abbo. 

2 "Chronicles of the Kings," Bonn's ed., p. 241. Malmesbury 
looked upon the mere vegetable growth of the saint's hair and 
nails after death as a great wonder. 

3 Where they were kept with veneration till the sixteenth 


years before. The copyist was evidently unaware of 
the existence of two Theodreds, and that it was the 
second who opened the shrine. St. Abbo and the com- 
piler of the " Liber Co3tiobii " fix the identity of the 
second Theodred by surnaming him " the Good," 1 a title 
unknown in connection with Bishop Theodred of London. 

After his consecration, Theodred the Good made St. The tu-st custo- 
dians or keepers 

Edmund's shrine his first care. Devotion to the royal gf^^"^^ 
martyr had again waxed cold, and his sanctuary be- 
come more or less neglected. Heaven a second time, 
however, roused the slumbering piety of the faithful. 
At night-time a column of light again rested over the 
shrine and enveloped the whole church in a halo of 
splendour. 2 Miracles, which had never ceased for long 
together, became more frequent. With revived en- 
thusiasm the people brought gifts and offerings to the 
shrine, and a number of clerics consecrated themselves 
to God under the special patronage of St. Edmund, 
binding themselves by vow to the saint's service. 3 
Four of these, Leofric, Alfric, Bom field and Eilmund, 
held the dignity of priests ; two, Leofric and Kenelm, 
were deacons. 4 Others joined in course of time, among 
them being Adulph, who was afterwards the bishop 
coadjutor and successor of Theodred. Their duties and 
position closely resembled those of the seven keepers 
of St. Cuthbert's shrine mentioned by Simeon of 
Durham. With the bishop's sanction they served the 

1 St. Abbo speaks of him as "beatse memoriae," which implies 
that he wrote after Theodred's death in 962, though tenth century 
writers applied the phrase to the living. 

2 MS. Cott. Titus A. viii. 

3 Leland, " Collectanea," vol. i. p. 248, places this event in the 
second year of Athelstan's reign, A.D. 927. Herman implies the 
same. That the institution of the keepers took place as late as 
the reign of Ethelred (978-1016) as stated in IMS. Cott. Titus 
A. viii. must be a mistake. 

4 So Titus A. viii. Herman says that Eilmuud lived a priestly 
life, and that Kenelm was a levite. 


church, guarded the relics and administered the 
property of the sanctuary. They lived on the 
prebends and offerings l which the growing fame 
of the saint brought to his resting-place. 
Bishop Theodred Out of reverence for the martyr's body and to insure 

desires to see 

the martyr's its safer preservation Bishop Theodred decided to open 
the coffin and satisfy his pious desire of gazing upon 
the saint's face. A sentence of death, however, which 
he passed, contrary to the holy canons, upon some 
sacrilegious robbers made him postpone the fulfilment 
of his wish till the year 945 or 950. 2 St Edmund's 
principal biographer relates the whole incident with 
the minuteness and picturesqueness of a contemporary. 
" Though it may appear weak and trivial," says 
William of Malmesbury, it furnishes " proof of St. 

tory of the Edmund's power." The narrative runs thus: 3 Some 


thieves, of whom there were many infesting the country, 
attempted to break into the basilica in the silence and 
darkness of night, in order to steal the offerings of gold 
and silver and precious ornaments with which the faith- 
ful had enriched the shrine. They were eight in num- 
ber and men lost to all sense of reverence for the holy 
dead. Supplied with ladders and all else necessary 
for their purpose, they made their way into the 
churchyard under cover of night. One raised a ladder 
in order to make an entrance by the window, another 
tried ] to force the bolt of the door with a hammer, 
while some commenced to dig with mattocks and spades 
under the wooden walls. As they thus endeavoured 
each in his own way to force an entrance into the 

1 In 945 Edmund, the successor of Athelstan, gave the first 
charter of lands, &c. to the " family " of St. Edmund the Martyr. 

2 945 according to Curteys' Register ; 950 according to the 
" Liber Coenobii Sti Edmundi." 

3 A similar story is told in the Life of St. Frideswide ; and also 
of St. Spiridion by Sozomen the historian. See Alban Butler, 
Dec. 14. 


sanctuary, the holy martyr fixed them immoveable 
in their various postures and in the very places 
which they occupied at the moment. One stood 
on his ladder in mid-air ; another in the act of 
difTcrino- held fast to his shovel and his shovel to 

Ot> O 

him ; another remained motionless, fastened to his 
blacksmith's hammer. A supernatural power trans- 
fixed them. " A pleasant spectacle enough," exclaims 
William of Malmesbury, " to see the plunder hold 
fast the thief, so that he could neither desist from 
the enterprise nor complete the design." Meanwhile 
the noise awoke one of the keepers of the shrine, 
sleeping inside the church, l but an invisible power 
held him speechless on his couch, and he could give 
no alarm. When day dawned, it revealed the 
robbers in the very act of sacrilege. The guardians 
of the sanctuary bound them with thongs and led 
them before the bishop's tribunal, where without more 
ado Theodred condemned them to be hanged. 

Here St. Abbo breaks out into a denunciation of Th 
Bishop Theodred's sin against the canons as well as 
against his sacred office of father of his people. He 
did not call to mind, says the saintly writer, our 
Lord's exhortation by the mouth of His prophet : 
" Those that are drawn to death, forbear not to deliver " 
from it. 2 And he did not remember the example of 
Eliseus, who refreshed the robbers with bread and water 
in Samaria and sent them back to their homes, not per- 
mitting the king to put them to death, because he had 
not " taken them with his sword." 3 There is also the 
precept of the Apostle: "If you have judgment of 
things pertaining to this world, set them to judge 

1 This fact, given by St. Abbo, proves conclusively the existence 
of the keepers of the shrine previous to 945. He mentions, 
moreover, the "monastery " attached to the church. 

2 Prov. xx. 11. 

3 4 Kings vi. 22. 


who are the most despised in the Church," l i.e. lay- 
men. " So the canons forbid any bishop or any of 
the clergy to fulfil the office of accuser, because it 
is unbecoming for the ministers of heavenly life to 
further the death of any man whatsoever." 

" Theodred bitterly lamented his hasty action. He 
imposed a severe penance upon himself, and for a 
long time bewailed his sin. At last he earnestly 
a!id d afterwards Begged the people of the diocese to unite with him 
opens the shrine, jjj a ^ iree days' fast in order to avert the just anger 
and indignation of heaven, which might otherwise 
fall upon him. Our Lord, appeased by the sacrifice 
of a contrite and humble spirit, granted him the 
grace to dare to touch and raise the body of the 
blessed martyr, who, though so glorious by his virtues, 
lay buried in so poor and unworthy a sepulchre." 
He examines the " Thus it came to pass," about eighty years after 
the saint's death, that Bishop Theodred II., called 
the Good, opened the coffin and " found the body 
of the most blessed king whole and incorrupt, although 
it had before been gashed and bruised, and the head 
severed from its trunk. He touched and washed it ; 
then, clothing it in new and most costly robes, laid it to 
rest again in a new wooden coffin, 2 blessing God, who 
is wonderful in His saints and glorious in all His works" 3 


[Authorities Leofstan is the last witness of St. Edmund's incorruption men- 
tioned by St. Abbo. Spelman, in his "History of Sacrilege," dates 
the punishment of Count Leofstan A.D. 880. This can hardly be correct, 
considering that St. Edmund lay burled at Heglesdune in that year. More 
probably 980 is the correct date.] 

The proud noble With great reverence the religious of St. Edmund 


demands to see watched over the precious relics committed to their 

the body. 

1 1 Cor. vi. 4. - "Loculus." 3 Ps. Ixvii. 


care. Bishop Adulph, as one of their community, 
further increased their devotion by his presence and 
example. 1 No one doubted the holy martyr's influence 
with God, attested by that beautiful and incorrupt 
form which had been so recently seen. But a youth 
named Leofstan, of a noble East Anglian family, 
who was not born when Bishop Theodred opened 
the coffin, hearing of the saint's incorruption, demanded 
to see it for himself. The keepers of the shrine refused ; 
the young man's attendants remonstrated. Proud 
and self-willed, Leofstan insisted " on settling," as 
he said, " the uncertainty of report by the testimony of 
his own eyesight." Resistance to his wishes only 
infuriated him, and he angrily threatened to use 
force if necessary. 

Fearing a disturbance in the very sanctuary from He sees it and 

. is struck mad. 

a man of such power and insolence, the keepers of 
the shrine yielded and opened the coffin. 2 Leofstan 
stood and irreverently stared into the face of the 
sleeping saint. At the same instant God struck him 
with madness and delivered him up to a reprobate 
sense. 3 His father Alfgar, a holy and religious man 
and afterwards a great benefactor of St. Edmund, 
terrified at his son's crime and its consequent punish- 
ment, finally disinherited him. At last, reduced by the 
judgment of God to the deepest misery, Leofstan 
died like Antiochus and Herod, eaten up with 
worms. " Thus," concludes St. Abbo, " all recognise 
the holy king and martyr Edmund to be not inferior 

1 Godwin, " De Prsesulibus," p. 425, says Adulph was appointed 
in Canterbury in 955 to be bishop of East Anglia, i.e. some years 
before the death of Theodred II., whose coadjutor he was, which 
occurred, says Yates, in 962. He joined the brethren at Beod- 
ricsworth out of devotion to St. Edmund. 

2 Leland, " Itiner.," vol. viii. p. 82b, says that Leofstan forced 
open the coffin. 

3 Rom. i. 28. 


in merit to the blessed levite and martyr St. 
Lawrence, whose body, as the holy father Gregory 
relates, being gazed upon by some worthy or unworthy 
spectators, eight of them perished on the spot 
by a sudden death. Oh, how great reverence is due 
to that place which guards, as it were asleep, so 
illustrious a confessor of Christ ! " 


[Authorities Herman, a monk of St. Edmund's Bury, fully details the events of 
tins and the following sections. To his transcript, the oldest extant, of 
the " Vita Sti Kdmundi" by St. Abbo, Herman adds an original production on 
the miracles of St. Edmund, MS. Cott. Tiber B, ii. ff 19b-S4b, which is of the 
highest value. He compiled it, he says, partly from oral testimony and partly 
from an old work written in a difficult and crabbed hand, "calamo...dim- 
cillimo, et, ut ita dicam, adamantine." Next to Herman's Chronicle ranks 
the "iMiracula et Translatio Sancti JOdnmndi Regis et Martyris," MS. Cott. Titus 
A. viii. ft'83b-151b, a compilation from Herman, Prior John and Osbert de 
Clare. Arnold in his ''Memorials" ascribes the authorship of this piece 
to Samson, although only four out of thirty-seven chapters are original. Sam- 
son, however, if he be the compiler, rewrote the miracles of Herman, and added 
several fresh facts. A further account of these two authorities will be found at 
the beginning of chapter xii. In his " Speculum Historic " (Rolls Publ., vol. 

'60), Richard of Cirencester, a 
history of the life of St. Edm 

older annalists like Herman, a 
applies to the " Liber Ccenol 
narrative. LyJgate still conti 

nonk of Westminster A.D. 1350, gives the whole 
ind and of his relics at this period. He is thus 

one of the royal martyr's chief English biographers ; but he took his facts from 

id so gives no new details. The same remark 
ii " and Curteys' Register on this part of the 
ues to put into verse the prose of other chroni- 

The keepers of The clerics who first devoted their lives by a per- 
sin-ine be'come petual vow to the guardianship of St. Edmund's shrine 
in the course of a few years increased in number 
to nineteen or twenty and were constituted into a col- 
lege of secular canons. l After the death of Theodred 
the Good they continued in their first fervour, but 
only so long as Bishop Adulph lived. 2 Under Adulph's 
successors Ailfric, Athelstan and St. Algar, the eccle- 
siastical discipline of the secular canons of St. Edmund 
gradually relaxed. St. Abbo, who visited them about 

1 Probably in the reign of Ethelred the Unready. 

2 Adulph died in 966. 


the year 980, and founded a school amongst them, 
did not succeed in rekindling their piety and enthusi- 
asm. Later annalists, like Herman, justly complain of 
the negligent way in which they kept the records 
of miracles at this time. Even with regard to the 
shrine itself they had become careless, so that in 
the year 990 l Bishop Athelstan deprived them of its 
guardianship and gave it into the charge of the Bene- 
dictine Ailwin, the fourth witness of the incorruption 
of St. Edmund's body. 

Ailwin 2 was the son of the Oswy and Leof lede Ailwin, out of 

i -TTT- 11 ji o -ni i devotion to 8t 

who gave Wisbeach to the convent of Ely, and Edmund, joins 

them for a time. 

from his parents he inherited his love for the 
supernatural. His piety and detachment from the 
world led him, while yet a layman, to St. Edmund's 
sanctuary. Feeling himself called to the ecclesiastical 
state, he joined the secular canons of St. Edmund 
out of love for their illustrious patron. Afterwards, 
however, won by the devout life of Wolfric and his Afterwards he 
companions, who had restored the church of St. Benedict 
and the monastic life at Hulme, 3 he petitioned for 

1 According to the Douai MS. , which dates it thirty years before 
the coming in of the Benedictines. 

2 Written variously Egelwin and Alfiwinus (Herman, Hoved), 
Ealwinus (Westmonaster. ) Aldwin (Dunelm.) Elf win (Text. 
Koff.) Ailwin (Lydgate). 

3 St. Benedict's at Hulme or Holme at Horning in Norfolk 
was a hermitage in King Edmund's time. Suneman the anchoret 
sought its marshy solitude in obedience to an angel's order. Others 
desirous of leading a penitential life resorted to him, and he built 
and dedicated a chapel and hermitage in honour of the patriarch 
St. Benedict, the land round about being given by the thane 
Horning or Home. Under Hinguar and Hubba the Danes 
destroyed the church and the cells of the hermits ; but after- 
wards a holy man named Wolfric rebuilt the church, and, 
gathering together seven companions, refounded the church and 
monastery under the rule of St. Benedict. Wolfric governed the 
new foundation forty years as abbot or prior, and during his reign 
admitted Ailwin to the habit. Canute early in the eleventh 



the habit of St. Benedict and became a monk. At 
Hulme Ailwin vied with Suneman and Wolfric in 
the saintliness of his life. But throughout his pious 
exercises he longed to see a reform among the clergy 
at Beodricsworth, who kept the body of the martyr 
king " without any honour," and instead of spending 
the offerings made to the saint upon the church they 
The monk divided them among themselves. Ailwin at length 

Aihvm is 

glSKrine. attained the fulfilment of his desire by his own 

appointment to the guardianship of the shrine. 
His reverence Ailwin's tender and affectionate watchfulness over 

for the dead, 

St. Edmund's body forms one of the most touching 
chapters in its history. To honour the earthly re- 
mains of the dead is indeed an instinct of nature. 
It prompts the mourner to provide the richly fur- 
nished coffin, to cover the bier with flowers and 
wreaths and to adorn the fresh-turfed grave. By the 
funeral pomp, the spacious vault, the marble monu- 
ment man shows reverence for the bodies of those 
whom in life he loved. The Church's teaching ele- 
vates and sanctifies this instinct of nature. The body 
is the tabernacle of the soul, the temple of God's 
spirit, the resting-place of Christ's eucharistic presence. 
Therefore, although Mother Church allows nothing 
that can disparage the lesson of death, she lays the 
body to rest with solemn rites, because it contains the 
seed of immortality and shall rise again at the last day. 
So faith and love inspired Ailwin in his tendance 
Ami especially o f st Edmund's body. He guarded it as the most 

for St. Edmund's 

precious of relics, once the sanctuary of a noble 
soul and the armour of an heroic Christian, a memento 
left to earth of an angel, a warrior, a king, a saint. 
Edmund's personality had left an indelible impression 

century endowed Hulme, and from it came the colony of monks 
whom he put into possession of the church and abbey which he 
raised over St. Edmund's shrine. 


on the minds and traditions of his people. His 
nation held him in greater glory than modern Eng- 
land holds any of her heroes whose bones rest under 
the dome of St. Paul's or in the consecrated aisles of 
Westminster. Illustrious sanctity and his champion- 
ship of the faith raised him in the eyes of Christendom 
far above other defenders of their country. The 
dread Lord of heaven and earth Himself glorified 
the martyr and honoured his body by miracles, not 
the least being its preservation from decay. Those 
only who sneer at the natural and supernatural alike 
can therefore wonder at Ailwin's devotion to the saint's 
remains. He knew that Edmund's soul loved and 
honoured its body and rewarded those who reverenced it. 

Therefore, " out of devotion to the saint," writes H e washes and 

arranges it. 

Herman, " Ailwin did menial service to St. Edmund." 
He opened the coffin and, with the love of a son 
arranging a dead father for his last sleep, he often 
poured water on the incorrupt members of the martyr- 
king's body, l and composed the long flowing hair of the 
sacred head with a comb. Whatever hair came off 
he carefully preserved in a box. 2 From this privi- 
lege of tending and waiting upon the king his 
acquaintances styled him "the martyr's confidential 
chamberlain ; " for " in every way he did as dutiful 
service to him as any man is wont to a living per- 
son." Frequently this faithful servant of St. Edmund 
spent the night in mutual converse with his master. 
He spoke to him as it were face to face; and what- 
ever favour the common people sought from their 
" Father Edmund " they asked for through Ailwin. 

1 St. Bede relates how their respective guardians washed the 
incorrupt bodies of St. Ethelburga and St. Oswald, and pre- 
served the water as holy and sacred. 

' J To treasure the hair of the dead is a common practice in our 
own day. 


Stfonof des ' The Pet of St. Edmund's Bury has not failed to 
commemorate in his epic this devoted follower of 
his hero. He thus describes Ailwin's familiar inti- 
macy with blessed Edmund : 

" First Ailwin that cely [celestial] creature 

Afforn [before] his shrine upon the pavement lay : 

In his praiere devoutly dyde endure, 

Seelde [seldom] or never parteden [departing] night nor day. 

For whausoever his lieges felte affraye 

The peple in him had so great beleve 

Through his request Edmund sholde hem [them] releve. 

The perfection of Allewyn was so couth [full of grace] 

So renommed his conversacioun, 

That many a tyme they spak to gidre [together] mouth by 


Touchynge hyh thynges off comtemplacioun, 
Expectfull oft, be revelacioun 
Off' hevenly thynges, to speke in words few, 
Be gostly secretys which God lyst to him shewe. " 


{Authorities The same as for the previous section. Stowe's " Survey of London," 
edited by William J. Thorns, F.S.B., 1842, describes London at this period. 
The church of St. Gregory, in which Ailwin deposited St. Edmund's body, 
survived till 1045. It therefore forms, together with the chapter-house, a 
marked feature in Ralph Agas' map of London. William Longman's "Three 
Cathedrals dedicated to St. Paul" contains the ground-plan of St. Gregory's 
church, plate 28, and a sketch of its interior, plate 14, chap. iii. Hollar's 
plate shows a church of St. Gregory of a debased style, and therefore clearly 
not the original one, which was Anglo-Saxon. Alban Butler dates this second 
translation of St. Edmund A.D. 920, a mistake copied into the " Menology 
of England and Wales," and into the inaccurate Petits Bollandistes.] 

The Danes in For twenty years Ailwin affectionately guarded 
emfofthe ioth the shrine of his " lord and father Edmund " at 
Beodricsworth. At the end of that time fresh troubles 
overwhelmed the country, and, trembling for the 
safety of his treasure, he fled with it from East 
Anglia. To understand the reason of Ailwin's action 
it will be necessary to take up the thread of English 


and East Anglian history from the period of the 
first translation in 903. Shortly after that event 
King Edward annexed East Anglia to the rest of 
his kingdom ; and in the reign of his successor, 
Athelstan, the partly independent Danish chieftains 
entirely disappeared. In fact the Danes throughout 
England had almost ceased to be foes. Under their 
leader Anlaff they made a successful stand in 
Northumbria against Athelstan's brother, King 
Edmund, but it was short-lived, and after Edmund's 
death they submitted to King Edred without a 
struggle. After the fall of Edwy and the succession 
of Edgar St. Dunstan's firm but gentle hand finally 
welded Danes and English into one nation. When 
the great churchman crowned St. Edward the martyr, 
it seemed as if the united kingdom which he had 
made could weather any storm. But the murder 
of young king Edward brought endless troubles on 
the hapless Ethelrecl, whose mother's crime gave 
him his brother's throne and with it the curse of 
blood. Years of scarcity, distemper among the cattle, 
plague among the people combined to bring misery 
on the kingdom. The Danes, getting scent of the 
distracted state of the country and of the king's 
unpopularity, renewed their attacks with a perti- 
nacity which ended in the accession of a Danish 
monarch to the English throne. At first they made 
a few raids on the coasts only ; then a formidable 
armament reduced Ipswich. Treaties were negotiated 
and thousands of pounds paid in bribes, but in vain. 
Ethelred equipped armies and navies only to see 
their commanders turn traitors and join the Norsemen. 
In 994 Sweyn king of Denmark and Olave king of 
Norway sailed up the Thames with their combined 
fleets to attack London. Eepulsed from the capital, 
they scattered their forces over Essex, Kent, Sussex 


and Hampshire, which they wasted with fire and 
sword. During this war or the next Sweyn invaded 
St. Edmund's patrimony and probably entered his 
town. l Ethelred bought off the two kings with the 
of^Brice sum f sixteen thousand pounds. A few years later, 
on the feast of St. Brice, November the 13th, 1003, took 
place the cold-blooded slaughter of all Danes dwell- 
ing in England, known as the massacre of St. Brice. 
Sweyn's four years of avenging devastation and 
murder followed, ending with the exaction of thirty- 
six thousand pounds of silver as compensation. 
During these ferocious wars Ailwin constantly dreaded 
that some evil would befall St. Edmund's body. 
When, therefore, he heard of the landing of another 
Danish army under Count Turchil, he determined to 
seek safety in flight. 

Turchii invades The Danish chief Turchil invaded England osten- 
fool! am1 ' A ' D ' sibly to avenge the death of a brother, but really 
for the sake of plunder and rapine. Sweyn, who 
shrank from the open violation of solemn treaties, 
gave the expedition his secret approval. For three 
years England cowered terror-stricken at Turchil's 
feet. In the first year of his invasion (A.D. 1009) he 
devastated the southern counties. In the second 
his hordes landed at Ipswich and overran East 
Anglia on their way to the fens, whither thousands 
of the English had fled for security. But, before 
the invaders thus menaced St. Edmund's shrine, the 
blessed martyr had warned Ailwin of the approach- 
ing danger and bidden him flee with his sacred 

Ailwin takes up The devoted monk hired a common cart, on which 
iemainTand 8 he placed the holy body, and wandered forth. He 

wanders about 

with them. found the open country and the unfortified towns 

1 Yates says that Sweyn destroyed St. Edmund's Bury, but 
there is no historical proof of it. 


wholly abandoned to the enemy, whose avowed 
object was to reduce England to a solitude. The 
only course left to him was to seek security in 
London. Repeatedly besieged even by Turchil's men, 
that town alone had successfully resisted attack and 
offered protection to its citizens. Towards the capital, 
then, Ailwin turned his face, stealthily avoiding 
the more frequented roads, and in constant fear lest 
the Danes should overtake him. 

On reaching the borders of Essex at nightfall, he He is inhospi- 
tably receive! 
came across the quiet and secluded house of the * Essex. 

priest Eadbright, the father of Abbot Alfwin of 
Ramsey. 1 There he sought shelter ; but the priest, 
afraid to harbour strangers in those troublous times, 
refused admittance. With difficulty Ailwin obtained 
permission to rest in the adjoining yard till morning* 
Tired and weary he lay down to sleep under the 
cart in which reposed his royal master. He slept, 
but his heart kept watch. 2 That night a pillar of 
light which dimmed the very stars illumined the 
dome of heaven, the sole canopy over St. Edmund's 
body, and kept watch over the lowly shrine. Music, 
too, sweet as that which the shepherds heard, floated 
on the air. 3 At three o'clock in the morning the 
wheels of the cart began to move, non hominis scd 
Dei motionc not by the action of man but of God. 
Thus supernaturally warned, the saint's " charioteer " 
arose without delay and continued his flight. He Thc priest . s 
had not gone far when, looking back, he beheld the sumeVwitii 
priest's house enveloped in flames, in punishment, 
as it seemed, for his timid and inhospitable recep- 
tion of the martyr's relics. 

Venturing at last on the wide Roman road from 

: Alfwin was abbot in 1043, and ruled for thirty-six years. 

2 Herman; "Cant, of Cant.," v. 2. 

3 Gillingwater's " Account of Bury," p. 41. 


Aiiwiu crosses Colchester to London, the faithful monk found his 

the Lea by a 

broken bridge. way barred at Stratford 1 by the swollen waters of 
the river Lea. Stratford is now considered part of 
the capital, but till half a century ago it was little 
more than a country village situate about four miles 
from St. Paul's. A slender bridge, since replaced by 
the solid structure connecting Stratford with 
Stratford-le-Bow, spanned the stream. 2 Ailwin found 
the bridge broken and unsafe and far too narrow 
for his cart to cross. He knew not what to do or 
whither to turn, for the ford was impassable, and 
the Danes as the number of people hastening to 
London indicated pressed on from behind. Ailwin 
saw St. Paul's and safety within reach. Putting his 
trust in heaven, he boldly advanced, when, behold ! 
while the right wheel of the cart ran upon the surface 
of the bridge, the left, suspended between water and 
sky, moved along in mid-air on a level with its 

"To forme at Stratforde callyd at the horse 

His littel cane, when it should passe 

The brigge, broke the strame unknowne, 

Har we was the plawne, ther was no way but grace. 

Aloff the flood and littel wheel gan glace, 

The tother wheel glod on the boord a foffte 

And Ayllawn went aft'orn ful soffte. " 3 

1 The Street-ford. 

" Queen Matilda built the first bridge of stone in gratitude for her 
escape from drowning in the Lea. Her structure was memorable 
as the first bridge built in England with an arch of stone. 

3 Lydgate's verse put into modern English reads : 
To a form [or plank] at Stratford called the horse [or wooden 


His litter came, when it came to pass that 
A stream of unknown depth broke against the bridge, 
How wee [small] was the plain [level] there was no way but grace. 
Aloft the flood one wheel of the litter began to glance, 
The other wheel glided on the board afoot 
And Ailwin went before full softly. 


The entry into London now became a triumphant He enters 


procession. Fugitives had carried the news before. 
Eye-witnesses related the miraculous passage of the 
Lea. The clergy and principal citizens came forth 
to welcome the royal martyr of the east and in 
turns carried the coffin on their shoulders. As the 
procession entered Aldgate, 1 the crowds of specta- 
tors grew larger and lined the whole of Cheapside 
as far as the Cathedral. The name and praise of 
St. Edmund were on every lip. The defender of 
his people against the Danes ! How honoured their 
city to receive the visit of this illustrious guest and 
powerful protector ! The sick and the lame and the 
diseased pressed forward to touch the coffin. " And Numerous 
Edmund out of his royal clemency shed his favours happen, 
around. To the blind he gave sight; to the deaf, 
hearing ; to the dumb, speech. The crippled and 
the paralysed regained the use of their limbs. Lepers 
received cleanness of body. On the way from Aid- 
gate to the church of Blessed Pope Gregory eighteen 
miracles were wrought." 

A bedridden woman of the city, with limbs con- The cure of the 

crippled woman. 

tracted and withered from the waist downwards, 
heard the commotion in the streets, as she lay in 
a wicker-basket which served her for a bed. She 

1 There were at this period four gates only to London : 
Aldgate, or Ealsgate, for the east ; Aldersgate for the north ; 
Ludgate for the west ; and Bridgegate over the Thames for the 
south. By degrees the citizens opened other gates large and 
small. Cripplesgate was at first a postern near Ealsgate, and its 
vaulted passage running under the mass of the parapet and 
through the rampart gave it its name of crcpel or cryfele a burrow, 
and geat, a gate. In Agas' map Cripplesgate is given as an 
important entrance conducting by Cheapside to St. Paul's (see 
Denton's "Cripplesgate, or Ealsgate Without," Appendix A.) 
At Aldgate the abbot of St. Edmund's Bury had Christ church, 
the side of which bore the inscription Bcvis Marks, a corruption 
of Bury Marks. 


asked the meaning of the tumult. " The innocent 
St. Edmund, king of the East Angles, is passing," 
her attendants answered, " he who died for Christ by 
the hands of impious men." " Oh," she exclaimed, 
" that my eyes might see how great and glorious 
a saint now enters our city ! Could my hand 
touch but the covering over his coffin, I should be 
healed." That instant she felt her limbs grow strong 
beneath her, and, leaping from her basket-bed, she 
ran after the procession, praising God and weeping 
tears of joy. This nineteenth miracle on that day 
attested St. Edmund's power. 

So Ailwin made his way to the great basilica of 
the Apostle St. Paul. The line of thoroughfare is 
still the same, and busy men and women in hustling 
throngs hurry to and fro over the route which eight 
centuries ago the royal martyr Edmund traversed. 
Under shelter of the cathedral and built close up 
to its south-west wall stood the church of the blessed 
Pope Gregory. l Within that sanctuary Ailwin de- 
posited St. Edmund's body. He resisted all attempts 

1 St. Gregory's church stood at the south-west corner of St 
Paul's, built close up to the wall, its facade being on a line with 
the west front of the cathedral. It was not uncommon for parish 
churches to be built in close proximity to a cathedral, as for instance 
St. Margaret's at Westminster, but there is probably no other 
instance, at least in England, of a chiirch being erected against the 
very walls of the cathedral. Three churches of St. Gregory in 
turn occupied the same site : first, the Anglo-Saxon church, which 
sheltered St. Edmund's body ; a second of Norman style ; and 
a third, a post- reformation church of debased architecture. St. 
Gregory's church stood till about 1645, and not till the great fire, 
as Stowe implies. Its position was then considered to be a 
mistake, and, notwithstanding a petition from the parishioners 
against its demolition, it was "pulled down in regard it was 
thought to be a blemish to the stately cathedral whereunto it 
adjoined." (State Papers, Domestic, pp. 218-408.) The old 
churchyard of St. Gregory's is probably the only vestige of the 
old church. Within the parish of St. Gregory, however, was 


to take it into the cathedral, suspecting that the 
authorities there might steal his treasure from him, 
a fear not without foundation, as after events 

At the martyr's shrine in St. Gregory's church ^ 
not only London citizens but strangers from afar bl 
paid their devotions, and the crowds of pilgrims 
presented gifts without number to adorn the saint's 
resting-place. Conspicuous among these votive offer- 
ings were two golden bracelets which a wealthy Dane 
gave to the saint. He had come to the church not 
out of devotion, but to see what attracted the people. 
When others knelt, he stood looking on, too proud 
to bend his knee. At length he stept forward and 
irreverently threw back the pall over the bier to 
see underneath, but in the act he became blind of 
both eyes. Overwhelmed by the suddenness and 
gravity of his punishment, lie fell on his face on 
the ground and with deep sorrow acknowledged his 
sin. He filled the church with groans and prayers 
to the saint. He implored the bystanders to inter- 
cede for him, for God had touched his heart with 
repentance and devotion to his martyr. In answer 
to the people's prayers he again received his sight. 

erected a church of St. Edmund, whose modern substitute still 
exists in Lombard Street and is known as St. Edmund the 

Perhaps the last record of St. Gregory's is the following extract 
from the "Times" of Friday, July 1, 1887 : 

"lUnion of City Benefices. The proposed union of the parishes 
of St. Gregory by St. Paul, and St. Mary Magdalen, Old Fish 
Street (the church of which in Knightrider Street was destroyed 
by fire some time since), with that of St. Martin, Ludgate, has 
"been favourably reported on by the Commissioners who were 
appointed to consider the subject. The rector of the new benefice 
is to receive 570 per annum. The site in Knightrider Street is 
to be sold, and after payment of expenses, the proceeds are to go 
towards the erection of a new church in the metropolis." 


In gratitude he took off his golden bracelets and 
laid them at St. Edmund's feet as a perpetual 
memorial of his conversion. 

r r three y ears tlie holv bod y resfced i n st. 

Gregory's church to the great increase of the martyr's 
fame throughout England. On the restoration of 
peace, however, Ailwin resolved to tarry there no 
longer, but to return to Beodrics worth. 


A.D. 1013. 

[Authorities The same as for section C.] 

count Turciiii In the second year of St. Edmund's sojourn in 

is bought off 

by the English. London, the chief witan and clergy met to consider 
the best means of ridding the land of the hated 
invader. There was something soul-inspiring in the 
presence in their midst on this occasion of the body of 
the royal martyr, who in his day had defended his 
country against the Danes. But neither the presence 
nor the example of St. Edmund, nor the blood- 
stained remains of St. Elphege, archbishop of Canter- 
bury, l which the faithful brought from Greenwich 
to St. Paul's at this juncture, could move King 
Ethelred and his men to a courageous resistance. 
Frequent treachery, defeat in the battle-field and mutual 
distrust inclined the English to buy off the enemy 
rather than risk a conflict. Accordingly they paid 
a bribe of eight-and-forty thousand pounds to Turchil, 
who, after ravaging the greater part of thirteen 
counties, now swore allegiance to Ethelred and sold 
to him his friendship and services. 

1 St. Elphege met his death at the hands of the Danes on 
refusing to allow a ransom to be paid for his release. 


Ailwin on the conclusion of the treaty prepared e 
to take back to East Anglia the body of its illus- ^ in London - 
trious king and patron. He had passed an anxious 
time in London. All his firmness had been put to 
the test to keep possession of the shrine or to pre- 
serve it intact. The servant of God Elphege had 
tried to lay hands upon the piece of the true cross 
which, suspended from the saint's neck, lay in a 
reliquary upon his breast, and only Ail win's resis- 
tance to the archbishop's pressing entreaties had 
saved it. A more dangerous and ambitious foe ap- 
peared in the person of Alphun bishop of London. 
It was a public secret that he desired to retain 
the saint's body for his cathedral church. As 
Lydgate quaintly puts it, he " gan wishe him to 
translate into Pauley's cherche." Ailwin respect- 
fully opposed the prelate's wishes. Meanwhile 
the " saint encourages l his faithful followers to go 
back with him again into his own territory," and 
with this object Ailwin appoaches the bishop for 
permission. It is refused, but Ailwin persists, and 
finally Alphun yields. 


" Aillewyn by revelacion 
Took off the bishop, upon a day, lycence 
To lead King Edmund ageyn to Bury. " 

The parishioners, notified by the bishop of the Bishop Aipium 

finds the bier 

intended departure, assembled in large numbers in 
the church. Alphun himself, accompanied by a con- 
siderable body of the clergy robed in albs, came in pro- 
cession from the cathedral, and in a sermon, spoken 
amid the tears and regrets of his hearers, alluded to 
the great loss they were about to sustain. He hoped 
to rouse the populace to resistance. The sermon 

1 " Per opera mira." Herman. 


over, he and three others approached the bier as if 
to bear it forth upon their shoulders out of the city, 
but in reality to carry it into St. Paul's. They 
found the bier immoveable. Four more stalwart 
priests stepped forward, and then a third four, but 
their efforts were in vain. Not even twice twelve 
could move it. The bishop, feeling himself discovered, 
withdrew to one side in confusion, while the assem- 
bled citizens rejoiced in the thought that St. Edmund 
had chosen to remain among them. 
Aiiwin and his But there and then the faithful guardian Ail win fell 

friends easily 

move it. on hjg ] cne es upon the pavement, and with his whole 

soul besought his master Edmund not to forsake 
the country and people for whom he died, lest, like 
sheep without a shepherd, they should fall a prey 
to wolves. He rose, and, to the wonder of the 
spectators, himself with three companions lifted up 
the coffin as though it were a light and easy burden. 
They bore it forth into the open air amid the singing 
of hymns, followed by a long procession. Thus to 
the great sorrow of the whole city the blessed martyr 
and his servant Aiiwin departed from London. 
The triumphant It was no longer necessary to keep to lanes and 
Beodricsworth. by-roads in order to avoid observation. All along 
the route the inhabitants vied with one another in 
showing honour and respect to the royal martyr. 1 
On the announcement of his coming the whole popu- 
lation of a town or village hurried forth with shouts 
of joy and welcome to meet and escort him upon 
the way. In their zeal they repaired the bridges, 
strewed the streets with flowers and hung their 
houses with tapestry. God rewarded this devotion 
by miraculously healing all the infirm and diseased 
who invoked the intercession of St. Edmund as he 
passed through their midst. 
1 Gillingwater's "Account of Bury." 


Ailwin chose as his route the ancient way that -rue route 
runs from London by Chipping Ongar, Chelmsford, 
Braintree, and Clare and thence to St. Edmund's 
Bury. The first stage of his journey he made at 
Stapleford. The lord of the manor reverently lodged 
the sacred body and its guardians in his house. In uy;stapiefor.i 


reward St. Edmund cured him of a lingering illness, 
and the grateful noble presented Stapleford Manor, 
better known as Stapleford Abbots, as a thank-offering 
to the saint. The holy body next rested at Green- And Greensteau. 
stead within the parish of Chipping Ongar. The 
faithful hastily erected a church there to receive 
the sacred relics. 1 Chestnut trees were sawn length- 
ways into two, and the halves set upright in a sill 
and plate to form the walls. Sixteen of these half 
trunks and two door-posts form the south side, and 
twenty-three the north. In this rough edifice the 
body of St. Edmund remained for some days, in 
order to satisfy the devotion of the faithful, and 
then Ailwin proceeded on his way. 

After the departure from Greenstead no event of 
importance occurred till the martyr arrived at his own 
town. The inhabitants of Beodricsworth, out of them- m . 

The arrival at 

selves with joy, gave the monk and his sacred charge a Beodricsworth. 
triumphant welcome and escorted them to the wooden 
basilica which Theodred the Good had built. Thus one 
hundred and forty-three years after his martyrdom 
their protector and patron was again laid to rest 
in their midst. " There," writes Eichard of Ciren- 
cester, 2 " by the favour of God, even to this day, 
he ceases not to plead the cause of those who devoutly 
seek him." The grateful people, who had despaired 

1 It still stands, the oldest church in England. See Palgrave's 
engraving of it, and also a print in Knight's "Old England," 
vol. i. p. 82. 

2 And Cott. MS. Titus A. viii. 


of ever seeing the saint again, loaded his shrine with 
thank-offerings and prayed St. Edmund 

" With them to byde 
And never parte away." 

OCT. 18, A.D. 1032. 

The fourth translation of St. Edmund was made 
by King Canute as an act of reparation for his father 
Sweyn's irreverent conduct towards the great martyr 
and his clients. The whole incident is one of special 
^terest as giving an insight into the deep personal 
*ove of the East Anglians for St. Edmund and 
their unbounded confidence in his power. At the 
same time it accounts for the popularity of the saint 
throughout England, the people everywhere regarding 
him from this period as the saviour of the country 
from further Danish invasion. 
sweyn king of Few tyrants have afflicted the earth more ferocious 


than Sweyn, the king of Denmark at the beginning of 
the eleventh century. After murdering his own father 
to obtain power, he began a career of bloodshed and 
crime unparalleled in history. Master of the whole 
of Scandinavia, he ruled its wild and gigantic forces with 
a skill and determination which none dared oppose. 
On three occasions he invaded England: the first in 
company with Olave king of Sweden ; the second after 


the massacre of St. Brice ; and the third after Turchil's 
peace with Ethelred. Envy at Turchil's success 
and irritation at his subsequent engagement with 
King Ethelred seem to have been the only motives for 
Sweyn's third attack on the country. He summoned all His third 

invasion of 

his vassals to his standard for this crowning expedition England. 
and openly declared his intention of punishing his rival 
subject and of conquering England for himself. The 
very year that Ailwin took back St. Edmund's body to 
East Anglia, he unexpectedly set sail for Sandwich. 
His fleet was equipped with plunder from every 
country in Europe, and the magnificence of his own 
galley astonished all who beheld it. Eoiled in his 
attempt to corrupt the Danish mercenaries in Kent, 
he made for the mouth of the Humber, landed his 
forces and by the terror of his name subjugated 
the Mercians, some of whom he enrolled among his 
troops, forcing others to purchase exemption by sup- 
plying horses and provisions. His march to the 
Thames was rapid and destructive, and south of the 
Thames he awed the country into submission by a 
ruthless display of power. He devastated every 
foot of the open country, demolished towns, 
villages and hamlets on the line of march and 
sacked and burned to the ground churches and 
monasteries. Able-bodied men were pressed into his 
service or put to the sword. The panic-stricken 
English made no resistance. The conqueror marched 
through the open gates of Oxford and Winchester, and 
took hostages from both cities. His victorious career 
was only checked for a moment by Ethelred and 
Turchil's brave defence of London. The skill and 
strategy of the latter baffled the tyrant, who 
slowly fell back on Bath, leaving in his wake 
the usual desolation and ruin. He there proclaimed 

He proclaims 

himself king of England and compelled the thanes himself king> 




And imposes a 
tax on all tlie 

The people 
appeal to St. 
Edmund and 

of Northumbria, Mercia and Wessex to acknowledge 
his sovereignty. At this juncture the Londoners, 
wavering between doubt and fear, persuaded the king 
and Turchil to retire, and, without further struggle, 
to hand over their city to the conqueror. In the 
second week of January, 1014, Ethelred with his 
queen and children fled to Normandy. On the 2nd 
of February following, Sweyn, just as he had the 
whole realm in his grasp, was suddenly and mysterious- 
ly struck dead. 

The English annalists of St. Edmund's Bury relate 
the incident with careful minuteness. Sweyn, they 
say, as soon as he had established his tyranny, im- 
posed a heavy tax on the whole country and sent 
envoys throughout the length and breadth of the 
land to collect it. He exempted not even the holiest 
sanctuaries. Though he had abjured paganism, in- 
fluenced by the teaching and miracles of St. Poppo, 
he despised the Christian mysteries and worship 
when they stood in his way. Hence the patrimony 
of St. Edmund was included in his decree. The 
canons of St. Edmund, however, and the men of his 
town refused to pay the tax. Beodric, they asserted, 
had given the place to King Edmund; to him it be- 
longed, and to him only would they pay tribute. 
The tax-gatherers, filled with the traditional fear of 
the royal martyr's power, dared not insist. Mean- 
while, dreading the ferocious vengeance of Sweyn, 
the inhabitants of the town and district came in 
crowds to St. Edmund's shrine. By prayers and 
offerings and the burning of innumerable lights they 
appealed to their " Father Edmund " to protect them 
from the Danish tyrant, and they implored Ailwin, 
the saint's " chamberlain " and intimate, to lay their 
petitions before his master. 


As the monk was keeping his usual night watch st. Edmund 

appears in a 

in the silence of the church, speaking with the saint f^"^ his 
" as a friend to a friend," he fell asleep, and straightway attendant ' 
blessed Edmund, shining and glorious, in robes white 
as snow and with a cheerful countenance, stood 
before him. " Go," spoke the saint to his faithful 
attendant, " go and deliver my message to King 
Sweyn. Ask him in my name : Why tax you the 
people who pay tribute to none but me ? Cease your 
exactions. Remove these grievous burdens or you 
shall know that I am a terrible defender of my own." 

Next morning the pious keeper of the shrine told ^y e 
the people his vision and with a light step set out Mmun 
for Gainsborough, where King Sweyn and his army 
lay encamped. 1 Admitted to the tyrant's presence, 
Ailwin humbly delivered his message in St. Edmund's 
name and implored the Dane to remit the impost 
out of reverence for the saint. Sweyn at first treated 
him with silent contempt, but, when the fearless 
monk upbraided him for his cruelty and threatened 
him with St. Edmund's anger, he broke out into a 
torrent of abuse. With a face livid with rage he 
drove the monk from his presence, swearing that, 
unless he departed quickly, his Edmund should re- 
ceive him back a sorry sight, if indeed he left there at 
all alive. Ailwin, thus rudely repulsed, started for 
home, and the evening of the next day, " the feast 
of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, St. 
Edmund appeared to Sweyn in a vision," says William 
of Malmesbury, " and remonstrated with him on 
the misery he was inflicting on his people. The 
tyrant giving an insolent reply, the saint struck him 
on the head, and he died of the blow immediately 

1 This is the second time that Sweyn is recorded to have been 
at Gainsborough. See Leland, "Collect.," vol. i. p. 248; Cap- 
grave, apud Cressy's Church History, p. 922. 



Near Lincoln 
the saint 
again appears 
to his servant. 

Some Danish 
soldiers over- 
take him on 
his way home. 

They describe 
the manner of 
Sweyn's death. 

after." l " The Lord," exclaims Herman, " hath broken 
kings in the day of His wrath. He shall crush 
their heads in the land of the many." 2 

Ailwin received the full particulars of the royal 
decease from eye-witnesses under the following cir- 
cumstances. Downhearted at the failure of his mission, 
yet full of confidence in St. Edmund, he rested his 
weary limbs, the second night after quitting Sweyn, 
in the neighbourhood of Lincoln. Here the martyr 
ever his guide and protector, again appeared to him. 
" Why are you so sad and anxious ? " the vision asked. 
" Have you forgotten my words ? Arise at once 
and proceed on your way ; before you reach home, 
certain news of King Sweyn shall make you and all 
your fellow-countrymen leap with joy." "Without delay 
the monk arose and, though it was not yet daylight, 
continued his journey. 

On taking to the high road he heard the tramp 
of horses and the murmur of voices behind him. 
As the horsemen approached, he recognised them 
by their dress and language as Danish soldiers. 
Under the guardianship of St. Edmund, however, he 
feared nothing, and on their overtaking him returned 
the customary salutations and even joined in con- 
versation. Suddenly one of the soldiers, after obser- 
ving him closely said, "Pray, friend, are you the 
priest whom I think I saw the day before yesterday 
in King Sweyn's presence boldly delivering a message 
from a certain Edmund ? " 

The monk, unable to disguise the fact, meekly 
answered that it was he. 

" Alas, alas ! " exclaimed the soldier, " how heavy 
has fallen your threat ! How true has come your 

1 "Chronicle of the Kings," Bohn's edit., p. 190. Leland, 
"Itiner.," says that this happened "in regione Flegg mari 
proximo. " 

2 Ps. cix. 


prophecy ! King Sweyn's death leaves England re- 
joicing and Denmark mourning." With a heart 
throbbing betwixt fear and joy Ailvvin kept 
silence while the soldier continued his story. It 
appeared that the night after Ailwin's departure King 
Sweyn retired to his couch as usual, secure and 
self-satisfied and in high spirits. And at. an hour 
when perfect silence reigned throughout the camp, 
an unknown warrior of surpassing beauty and in 
flashing armour invaded his chamber and addressed 
him by name : " Do you persist," he said, " in exact- 
ing tribute from St. Edmund's territory. If so, arise 
now and take it." The king quickly sprang up in 
bed 1 as if to resist, but, affrighted by his visitor's 
angry countenance, he shouted vociferously, " Help, 
comrades, help ! Behold, St. Edmund slays me ! " 
For the " invincible " martyr had struck him with his 
spear. 2 Meanwhile Sweyn's followers, aroused by his 
shouting, rushed to his tent to find him mortally 
wounded and weltering in blood. He lingered long 
enough to tell what had happened and then miserably 

The Danish leaders, as far as possible, concealed other historical 

accounts of 

the manner of their sovereign's death, not a difficult weyn's death. 

matter, seeing that few knew it, and that the body, 

after being embalmed in salt, was at once carried 

out of the country. In Denmark the truth was 

never wholly known. Some of its historians write 

as though Sweyii died religiously and gloriously. 

The unknown author of the " Encomium of Queen 

1 Florence of Worcester (Bohn's edit., p. 123) says Sweyn was 
on horseback. The true account in the text is from Herman, who 
received it from Aihvin himself. 

2 To commemorate this incident some ancient carvings repre- 
sent St. Edmund arrayed in armour and holding a spear. The 
Jesuit fathers preserve one of these figures in an excellent state of 
preservation in their church at Bury. 


Emma " l speaks in this tone, no doubt in order to 
please his patroness. The Saxo-Grammaticus 2 says 
that he died at the acme of honour and renown. 
Albert Krauzius and the author of the " Abridged 
History of Denmark " 3 write in similar terms. He 
died, adds the last-named writer, beloved of God 
and men. These praises ill become a tyrant whose 
crimes include the murder of his own father, Harold 
Blodrand, and whose career of bloodshed shocked 
and terrified the whole of Europe. On the other 
hand, several medieval historians refer in a vague 
way to Sweyn's death as unnatural. Adam of Bremen, 
whom Henry of Huntingdon follows, states that 
Sweyn died suddenly. Ditmar, bishop of Mersburg, 4 
who lived till 1018, and was therefore a contempo- 
rary, calls Sweyn an impious man and his children 
a brood of vipers ; he accuses him of making a com- 
pact with the devil against God and adds that there 
was something supernatural in the manner of his 
death. One of the crude attempts to explain this 
mystery has found its way into the lessons for St. 
Edward the Confessor's feast. 5 " Sweyn, king of 
the Danes," says the seventh nocturn-lesson, " was 
drowned in the sea, whilst embarking in a fleet for 
the invasion of England," and St. Edward knew of 
it supernaturally at the moment it happened. It is 
impossible to accept this explanation, for two facts 
to the contrary are undeniable, viz., that Sweyn died 
in England, and that his followers at once conveyed 
his body to Denmark. That St. Edward, then a boy 
of twelve, knew by revelation the cause of Sweyn's 

1 Lib. i. 

2 "Hist. Dan.," lib. x. 

3 " Hist. Compendiosa Reg. Danioe," c. 76. 

4 Ditmarus, " Episc. Chron.," lib. vii. 

5 Benedictine Breviary, Suppl., Oct. 13. 


death is doubtless true and may account for his 
extraordinary devotion to St. Edmund. But the truth 
never passed his lips. He left his biographers to 
draw their own conclusions, probably wishing 
to spare his mother's feelings, for Sweyn was her 
father-in-law. Local history and tradition, however, 
and the unanimous verdict of English chroniclers 
clear up the mystery. Only an unreasoning disbelief 
in the divine interference in the affairs of man can 
reject the evidence of St. Edmund's freeing England 
from King Sweyn. 
Herman the archdeacon of Norwich, who chronicled Herman's 


the event when it was fresh in men's minds, relates 
corroborating incidents with a simplicity and minute- 
ness that vouches for their genuineness. 

After describing the venerable Ailwin's interview A sick man m 

Essex announces 

with the Danish soldiers, he tells how the devoted s^eyn^sdth at 

monk on arriving in East Anglia supposed that he f to happening 

would be the first to announce Sweyn's death. He 

found, however, that it was already known, for a 

sick man had revealed the fact in a strange and 

unaccountable manner. Deprived of speech and 

motion, with all the appearance of a corpse save 

for a slight heaving of the chest, the man lay dying 

for three whole days. On the night of Sweyn's 

death he suddenly sat up in bed and, opening his 

eyes, turned towards those by his bedside, exclaim- 

ing in a joyful voice : " This night, at this hour, St. 

Edmund has pierced King Sweyn with his spear 

and slain him." Then he fell back in his bed and 

breathed his last. 

The people of Beodricsworth and the neighbourhood The holy woman 
who had refused to pay the tax suffered no further testimony 
molestation. Even in the rest of East Anglia the 
tribute was neither collected nor paid, as a certain 
religious woman named Alfwena, a recluse of St. 


Benedict's, Hulme, well remembered. For she fre- 
quently told how the simple people of the seaside 
district of Flegg l collected their quota and, in dread of 
the barbarians, forwarded it by her father Thurcytel 
to Thetford ; but he did not pay it. The royal tax- 
gatherers sent it back, no one daring to take it, for 
fear St. Edmund should strike him as he had struck 
King Sweyn. 

Jrante<Tto a lt um ^ n thanksgiving for their singular deliverance the 
fia^ing d ofKin h g people of East Anglia imposed upon themselves a 
voluntary tax. They would pay St. Edmund annually 
and fore ver fourpence on every carucate of land 
in the diocese. 2 This gift, called the carucagium, 
continued to be paid to St. Edmund's monastery till 
the next century, when Herbert of Losinga, bishop 
of Norwich, first borrowed it to build his cathedral, 
and afterwards, with or without the monks' consent, 
appropriated it to his own church. A whole province 
thus bore witness to the fact of Sweyn's death by the 
hand of St. Edmund. 

reparation to 3 King Canute, Sweyn's son and successor, shared 
in the popular belief. On succeeding to his father's 
five kingdoms, he looked upon himself as succeeding 
also to his responsibilities. Fearing that with the 
late tyrant's crown he had inherited St. Edmund's 
anger, or, as some say, being admonished by St. 
Edmund in a vision to expiate his father's crimes, 
he changed his whole course of life. " From a mere 
savage, Canute rose abruptly into a wise and temperate 
king," writes a modern historian. 3 

He was specially anxious to atone to the protector 

1 The country about Yarmouth, still known as the hundreds 
of East and West Flegg. 

2 Leland's " Collectanea," vol. i. p. 249. A carucate was as 
much land as a plough could till in a year. 

3 Green's "Short History, 1 ' chap. ii. 


of East Anglia for his father's ravages of that province. 
Early in his reign, at a council of bishops and thanes 
held in Cirencester, he adopted the suggestion of Alfwin, 
bishop of East Anglia, to replace the secular canons 5 

1 to St. Edmund's 

of St. Edmund by Benedictines, and commenced B ury. 
at once to build a monastery for the future guardians 
of St. Edmund's shrine. Three years, later, after 
consulting Queen Emma and witli the consent of 
Earl Turchil 1 and all concerned, he brought twelve 
monks from St. Benedict's, Hulme, and installed 
them in the new buildings. " Over the community," 
so runs the old record, " Uvius, the first abbot, a 
discreet and upright man, is appointed to rule and 
most worthily to preside over that family of our Lord, 
in the year from our Lord's Incarnation 1020, from 
Edmund the holy king and martyr's passion the 
150th year. The most pious King Canute reigning? 
Turchil being earl of the East Angles, and our Lord 
Jesus Christ, to whom be honour and glory for 
ever, being ruler over the whole world." 

Canute and his queen's costly gifts to the Canute's 


new foundation exceeded any which they made B 
to other religious houses. According to Matthew 
of Westminster, " Canute enriched the monastery 
of the blessed king and martyr Edmund with such 
numbers of estates and other revenues, that, as to 
its temporal affairs, it is deservedly set at the head 
of all other convents." At the same time he con- 
firmed to St. Edmund the privileged franchise or 
liberty which Camden states to have comprised a 
third of Suffolk, and he commanded a great dyke 
to be thrown up to mark and protect its boundaries. 
Lastly, he raised a new church in honour of the 

1 Canute erected four earldoms, those of Mercia, Northumber- 
land, Wessex and East Anglia, whose provincial independence 
he recognized. Over the last-named lie placed Turchil. 


re d ou ktable defender of the English against his com- 
patriots. Ail win, who succeeded Bishop Alfwin in the 
see of East Anglia, had long bemoaned the plain wooden 
shrine enclosing his beloved master and the plank 
church of St. Mary, so unworthy of the illustrious 
dead. With joy he laid the foundations of a more 
magnificent edifice of stone. The carucagium " which 
was granted to St. Edmund for the slaying of King 
Sweyn " was used by the monks to supplement 
Canute's generous offering, so that the people also 1 
might have a share in the erection of a statelier' 
shrine to the English champion of freedom and justice, 
st. Edmund's The new basilica took twelve years to complete, 
shrined in the and on the feast of St. Luke, October the 18th, 1032, 

new church Oct. 

is, 1032, Agelnoth archbishop of Canterbury dedicated it to 

God in honour of Christ, our Lady and St. Edmund. 
Into its consecrated precincts a brilliant procession 
of prelates, priests, nobles and people bore the sleeping 
saint and laid him to rest in a noble shrine adorned 
with jewels and precious ornaments. Canute, whose 
example successive English sovereigns followed, himself 
offered his crown to the martyr, and acknowledged him 
conqueror and Lord of the Danish nation. Thus took 
place the fourth translation of St. Edmund's holy body. 

And Bishop The venerable Ailwin now saw the desire of his 

life fulfilled. For well nigh fifty years he had watched 
over the sacred body and far and wide spread 
devotion to the saint. As bishop he superintended 
the erection and dedication of the royal abbey- 
church. Under the auspices of his sovereign 
he saw his Benedictine brethren firmly established 
in the enjoyment of their rich and splendid 
possessions and invested with the guardianship of 
the shrine. Feeling that his work was done, he 

1 Malrnesbury, " De Gest. Reg. Anglise," bk. ii. c. ii., considers 
Canute as sole founder. 


resigned his bishopric and retired to the peace and 
seclusion of his monastery at Hulme, there to prepare 
for death. Once afterwards, however, he left his 
retreat in order to verify the sacred relics, on the 
occasion of Abbot Leofstan, the fifth witness of St. 
Edmund's incorruption, opening the coffin in the 
reign of St. Edward the Confessor. 


[Authorities The same as for section 6.] 

On the death of the Abbot Uvius the unanimous 
vote of the brethren put Leofstan in the abbatial 
chair. Leofstan was a man thoroughly skilled in the 
rules of monastic life. St. Edward the Confessor 
held him in high esteem, and not only visited the 
monastery during his rule, but munificently added 
to its privileges and endowments. When Leofstan 
began his reign, no one had opened the martyr's 
coffin for fifty years, though all believed firmly that 
the body was incorrupt. As it was likely, however* 
soon to become a mere tradition, Divine Providence 
brought about the verification under the fol- 
lowing circumstances. A woman named Aelfgeth, 

The cure of 

who had been dumb from her birth, came from Win- 
Chester to seek a cure at St. Edmund's shrine. The 
brethren often saw her kneeling there and making 
mute gestures of prayer. One day the keepers of the 
shrine found her stuttering and stammering and form- 
ing words. Finding herself cured, Aelfgeth resolved 
to devote her life to the saint's service. She took 
up her residence near the, church and with tears 


of gratitude proclaimed the miracle to all the pilgrims 
to the sanctuary. She chiefly employed her time in 
washing the floor of the church and adorning the 
altars with flowers. One night the martyr rewarded 
his humble client by appearing to her in a vision 
and filling her with a supernatural sweetness. At 
the same time he commissioned her to inform the 
" father of the monastery " of the long neglect which 
his sacred body had suffered. The coffin had be- 
come worm-eaten, the wood-dust covered the relics, 
and spiders had built their webs over his very face. 
Abbot Leofstan treated the woman's story next morning 
as a dream and from reverence refused to touch the 
royal remains. A few days later " Father Edmund " 
again appeared to his handmaid, and again at his 
command she delivered her message to the abbot. A 
third time the saint appeared, mingling threats 
his commands. Warned so often, Leofstan 

open the coffin took counsel with the brethren and then deter- 
remains. ' mined, with certain other monks, to open the coffin 
and verify the remains. On the Monday following 
all the brethren began a triduum of fasting, watching 
and a devout reciting of psalms in preparation for 
the solemn ceremony. On the Thursday morning 
the abbot, with those whom he had chosen " for 
their innocent and meritorious lives," went in pro- 
cession to the shrine, while the other monks by his 
command sat in the cloister reciting psalms and hymns. 
The coffin containing the blessed martyr was reverently 
taken out of the shrine, and Bishop Ailwin, the 
saint's aged servant, whom Leofstan had invited 
from Hulme, approached to identify the precious relics. 
Ailwin was now blind from age, but he was led 
by the monks to the body, every part of which he care- 
fully and without hesitation examined with his hands. 
He found the reliquarJ containing a portion of 


the true cross still suspended from the martyr's 
neck and lying on the breast. All remained exactly 
as he had left it. 

The monks now lifted the body from the coffin. The body is 

taken from 

Under the head they found a little pillow of fine thecom "' 
shavings, which they afterwards replaced. They laid 
the body, which they discovered in the state that 
Aelfgeth had said, upon a low wooden table or bench 
which they had previously prepared. For a whole 
day it diffused around an ineffable odour of sweetness, 
which filled the church, spread into the cloisters to 
the distraction of the monks there, and even pene- 
trated into the interior of the monastery. For, 
" Blessed Edmund," writes Richard of Cirencester, 
" who ' offered himself a sacrifice to God in the odour 
of sweetness/ could say with the Apostle : ' We are 
the good odour of Christ unto God, in them that 
are saved ; ' and, ' Now thanks be to God, who 
always maketh us to triumph in Christ Jesus, and 
manifesteth the odour of His knowledge by us in 
every place.'" 1 

Carefully removing the robes or coverings of the 
body, they exposed to view the martyr's sleeping And exposed 

to view. 

form, a fair and beautiful spectacle. The serene 
countenance, pale and almost transparent, suggested 
the idea of one about to rise from the dead. The 
blood-stained and arrow-pierced camisium or shirt and 
other robes, which the saint wore at the time of his 
martyrdom, still clothed the body. These the monks 
reverently took off to preserve for the veneration 
of the faithful. Then they wrapped the body and The monks 

.... .. , clothe it anew, 

limbs in a linen sheet. 

Before replacing the remains in the coffin, Abbot Abbot Leofstan 

tries if the hea<l 

Leofstan determined to ascertain that the head was ' 1 to 

firmly united to the body, as tradition and the 
1 2 Cor. ii. 14, 15. 


purple seam encircling the neck testified. For this 

end he irreverently took the head in his hands and 

pulled it towards him. 2 Immediately his conscience 

He is punished smote him, and he shook with fear. At the same 

with a contrac- 
tion ofthehands. time his hands and fingers became strangely distorted, 

and a kind of paralysis seized him. Thus God 
punished his presumption, the cramp in his hands 
remaining a perpetual proof that what he had done 
pleased neither God nor the saint. 

2 Malmesbury, "De Gestis Poutif.," implies that this took 
place when they drew the body from the shrine. The following 
is the account of the incident given by the author, probably Samson, 
of MS. Cott. Titus A. viii., and Richard of Cirencester : Abbot 
Leofstan, remembering that the martyr had been decapitated, 
suggested trying whether the head really adhered to the body. 
" Sight testifies to hearing, and touch should testify to the sight," 
said the abbot. Accordingly he bade one of the monks hold the 
feet while he pulled the head. But none of the brethren dared 
do it. He reminded them of their obedience. Still each and all 
of them held back, " not from frowardness, but out of reverent 
fear." The abbot, regarding them one by one, at last singled 
out Brother Turstan, whom from a boy he had educated within 
the monastic precincts. " You above all others, Brother Turstan," 
he said, "owe me obedience. You at least have no reason to 
doubt the righteousness of my commands. Approach, then, and 
confidently do my bidding." The young monk stepped forward 
and took hold of the martyr's feet, while the abbot put one hand 
under the neck and the other under the chin. Then Leofstan 
hesitated. Perhaps he was wanting in respect for the dead. 
Inclining his head towards the martyr's ear, he prayed : " O 
glorious St. Edmund, not out of curiosity or disbelief, as thou 
knowest, do I this, but that others may know the wonders of 
God in thee and proclaim them to the world. Nevertheless, 
because I am guilty of many sins and unworthy to handle thy 
sacred limbs or to touch thy body, the temple of the Holy Ghost, 
if this action of mine displease thee, I pray thee punish my 
body now, for I would rather be marked with some bodily 
deformity in this life than see my soul involved in eternal 
flames." He then pulled the head so forcibly that he dragged 
the whole body and the monk who held the feet towards 

Bbbot Baldwin's <3reat Cbuixb of St. 

/// ///<' ijjth century. 


A. Western Towers. 

a a Octagonal Towers. 

B Nave. 

b St. Faith's Chapel. 

C St. Catharine's Chapel. 

C Central Tower. 

D North Transept. 

B South Transept. 

P High Altar. 

f f f Altar Screen. 

G Choir or IVcsbylwy. 

g Abbot Baldwin's Shrine. 

h Little Altar of the Choir, 
i Altar of the Holy Cross. 

k Abbot Leofstan's Shrine. 
St. Edmund's Shrine. 
1111 Apsidal Chapels. 
M Chapel of the Relics, 
m m ill Entrances to Choir. 
N Lady Chapel. 
O St. Andrew's Chapel. 
P Site of the old round Chapel. 
p Monks' entrance, 
q South entrance. 


" For drawing of the body of the martyr 
Contracted were his nerves for ever after." 1 

And now, quickly and with trembling hands, the T ' ie Brethren 

J close the coftm 

monks again lay the sleeping martyr in his coffin. tottJ 
Under the head they insert the little pillow. They 
cover the placid face with a veil of fine silk, and 
over that they spread another veil of fine linen of 
the same dimensions. Then they cover the whole 
length of the body with a linen cloth of snowy 
whiteness, and over that again they place a long 
silk veil. The relic of the true cross was not re- 
placed, but, after the coffin was closed, and before 
it was sewn up in its strong linen wrapper, the aged 
Ail win laid on the lid the schedule of devout 
prayers to St. Edmund called the " Salutacions/' 
which Abbot Samson found there afterwards. Finally 
they deposited the coffin in the shrine and silently 
withdrew, leaving it to the custody of the appointed 

SUNDAY, APRIL 29, A.D. 1095. 

[Authorities Several special records exist of tliis important translation. The 
earliest is that of Herman, an eye-witness. Next follows the one given in the 
Cott. MS. Titus A. viii. The Douai MS. contains a chapter entitled "Trans- 
latio Sti Edmuncli," which has the same incipit "Regnante Rege Willelino 
Secundo," &c. as Bocll. 240. Both give a full narrative of the translation of 
St. Edmund's body " de ecclesia veteri in novam basilicam a Baldewino 
constructam." MS. ccc. Cant. 34, " De Translations Sti Edmundi Regis et 
Martyris," and the MS. marked Cott. Julius A. vi. in Hardy's catalogue are 
two other records of the same translation. As the monks commemorated this 
"Translation of St. Edmund "in their annual round of Church festivals, a 
history of it forms one of the lessons in an old breviary in the library of Clare 
College, Cambridge, and has been used for the compilation of this section. 
Lcland ("Collect.," vol. i. p. 247) enumerating the various translations, 
writes, " Quinta per Abbatem Baldwinum qui corpus Sti Edmundi a capella 
rotunda in novam basilicam .... transtulit."] 

Abbot Leofstan's hands remained crippled for the 
rest of his life, and he sought no cure for them. 

11 Quoted from a witty monk in Gillingwater's "Account of 
Bury," p. 111. 


When, however, other infirmities seized him, he 
besought St. Edward the Confessor, a devout client 

Baldwin the of St. Edmund, to send him the monk Baldwin, a 
well-known physician of the court. Baldwin, after 
receiving the Benedictine habit at St. Denis', Paris, 
and later on while prior of Liberaw in Alsace, had 
studied medicine with marked success. " Gretly 
expert in crafte of medycine," he acquired fame in 
the healing art throughout France. The Confessor 
invited him to England, and, on his appointment to 
the priorship of Deerhurst in Gloucester, a cell of 
St. Denis', continually had him at court. At the 
king's wish he now repaired to St. Edmund's abbey 
and succeeded in curing Leofstan of all his infirmities 
save the distortion of the hands. That defied his 
art. When, however, he heard the history of the 
deformity, he acknowledged his helplessness in the 
presence of the supernatural, and, filled with 
admiration of St. Edmund, desired to end his 
days under the shadow of the martyr's earthly 

He is elected After Leofstan's death the Confessor invited the 

abbot, ni i -YTT- 

prior and some of the monks to Windsor and recom- 
mended Baldwin to them as abbot. They adopted 
the king's suggestion. Baldwin was ordained priest 
in the royal presence on the feast of the Assump- 
tion of our Lady, 1065, and took possession of the 
abbatial chair. The monks found no reason to regret 
their choice. Baldwin proved himself a firm and 
able ruler. He was energetic yet prudent in his 
government, and continued after the Conquest to 
stand in high favour both at the court of the 
Conqueror and at that of his son. 

And builds the He gave two substantial proofs of his combined 
great church. ^ c ^ ^^ ener gy_ j n an appeal to Eome he success- 
fully vindicated the privileges of his abbey against 


Bishop Herfast, l and he raised the grand and 
magnificent church over the relics of St. Edmund 
which until the sixteenth century ranked as the 
largest basilica north of the Alps after Cologne 
cathedral. It was the age of vast cathedrals. Bald- 
win had seen the huge minsters lifting themselves 
over the roofs of each little market-town in 
Normandy. Archbishop Lanfranc was building at 
Canterbury, and the guardians of St. Cuthbert had 
commenced the majestic structure of Durham. Bald- 
win determined to rival Canterbury and Durham. 
He represented to the Conqueror the inferiority of 
Ailvvin's church 2 and proposed to raise a more 
stately pile over the shrine of the patron of East 
Anglia, the king and father of his country. Pleased 
with the abbot's devotion, William confirmed and 
extended the privileges of the monastery and thus 
guaranteed the necessary funds. He issued a royal 
mandate to the abbot of Peterborough, exhorting him 
to allow the abbot of St. Edmund's to take out 
sufficient stone from the quarries of Barnack in 
Northamptonshire for the erection of the new church 
and to exempt it from thelonium, or the usual toll 
chargeable on its carriage. Queen Matilda helped 
on the work by giving St. Edmund the manor of 
Wereketone. Stone-masons and plasterers were hired 

1 Bishops of Tlietford (vide note, pp. 148-9): 

HERFAST or ARFAST, A.D. 1070, was the last bishop of 
Elmham. By order of a council held by Lanfranc, all bishops' 
sees had to be removed from villages to the most eminent cities 
in their dioceses. Herfast therefore removed his from Elmham 
to Tlietford, intending afterwards, though he was hindered by 
Baldwin's appeal to Rome, to remove it to Bury. He was 
succeeded in the see of Thetford by 

day, 1085. William died in 1091. 

2 Which probably resembled St. Michael's, Oxford, or St. 
Benet's, Cambridge. 



and skilled builders and sculptors brought from Italy 
and Normandy. For close on thirty years, under 
the supervision of the sacrists, Brothers Thurstan 
and Tolinus, a crowd of workmen laboured at the 
new edifice. During the course of the work the 
stern Conqueror passed to his rest, and, when the 
presbytery was finished, Baldwin applied to his suc- 
The presbytery cessor William Rufus for his favour and that of the 

being finished, 

Baldwin pie- great men of the realm, in order that with due 

pares for its 

thetonsikurm honour an d solemnity they might dedicate the basi- 

lic*! sa li a an d translate into it the precious body of 

St. Edmund. Rufus was then at Hastings attending 
the dedication of Battle Abbey, while he awaited a 
fair wind to cross to Normandy. At first he con- 
sented to both the abbot's requests. The advent of 
Baldwin, however, had given rise to an irreverent 

some malicious discussion among the courtiers and royal mercenaries 

men question 

the saint's in- on fc] ie continued incorruption of the martyr's body. 


Some contended that from the number of times on 
which it had been seen and touched no doubt of 
its integrity could be reasonably entertained. Others 
mocked at the tradition and suggested that, since 
the body must have gone to dust, the wealth lavished 
on the shrine should be used for payment of the 
king's troops. The argument so moved the red 
monarch that he withdrew his permission for the 
dedication, and left England without formally approv- 
ing of the translation. 
wakeiin, bishop But in the same year, A.D. 1095, on Wednesday, 

of Winchester, _ , ,. ,,-, j i ) 

and Ralph, the April the 2otli, at the third tax-gathering, says 

king's chaplain, 

arrive at the the old breviary, two royal commissioners arrived 


-at the abbey on king's business, viz., Wakeiin bishop 
of Winchester and the royal chaplain, Ralph Flambard, 
then "regalium provisor et exactor vectigalium," or 
Chancellor of the Realm. Certain influential persons 
now hinted that the most important " king's business** 


which these royal servants could transact would be 
the translation to the presbytery of the new church 
of " the precious, undefiled and uncorrupted body of 
the most glorious king and martyr, Saint Edmund." 
Thus the conqueror had saluted it in his charter, 
and the commissioners now announced that his suc- 
cessor had appointed them to conduct its formal 
translation. Baldwin, who all along had recom- 

i i ,. ,-. ... .-^ ,, . ..,, , The translation 

mended patiently waiting (rod s time, when notified is arranged. 
of this, answered, " God's will and the holy martyr's 
be done." Herbert, bishop of the diocese, however, 
protested that they were encroaching on his juris- 
diction, but the abbot produced the bull of exemption 
from episcopal control which he had obtained from 
Pope Alexander II. and other decrees, and straight- 
way invited Bishop Wakelin to preside at the 
ceremony to the total exclusion of Herbert. l 

The saintly Baldwin next exhorted all his religious Baldwin exhorts 

all to prepare 

to make ready by greater purity of heart and by fo 

1 Bishops of Norwich, (vide p. 193) : 

HERBERT DE LOSINGA, successor of William Galsagus in the 
see of Thetford, at first prior of Fescamp in Normandy, and 
afterwards abbot of Ramsey, is said to have procured his see 
by simony in 1091, for which Rome 'afterwards called him to 
account. He obtained leave from the Pope while at Rome, in 
order to put an end to all pretensions over St. Edmund's Bury, to 
tix the East Anglian see at Norwich, where he laid the foundation- 
stone of his cathedral in 1096. He built his palace on the north 
side and the monastery on the south. In 1101 he got together 
sixty of his Benedictine brethren to serve the church. That 
Norwich, however, was intended for the seat of the bishopric before 
the time of Herbert of Losinga is evident from a passage in the 
Domesday survey in which King William the Conqueror is ex- 
pressly said to have given fourteen mansurne to Ailmar towards 
establishing it there. Blomeh'eld, who took considerable pains 
to collect the particulars of Herbert of Losinga's life, says : 
"After he had settled his foundations thoroughly, and adorned 
his church with all manner of garments and robes [by which he 
probably meant vestments], books, and other necessaries, he 
departed this life in the year 1119 on the 22nd day of July, and 


deep and earnest devotion for the day of translation. 
He impressed upon the two commissioners the sacred- 
ness of the occasion as he transacted business with 
them, and he warned them not to incur the historical 
anger of St. Edmund by any arrogance or injustice 
towards his servants. The commissioners entered into 
the ceremonies with a deep sense of the responsibility of 
their position. The bishop put aside all secular busi- 
ness and on the Friday and Saturday joined the monks 
in fasting and prayer. He moreover spent the night 
previous to the translation kneeling before the body 
of the saint, reciting the psalter with his attendants and 
ardently praying to be made more worthy of his office- 
The translation On Sunday, April the 29th, at the hour for terce, 

takes place in . i i 

the presence of nine o clock, the bishop, vested in pontificals, accom- 

a great multi- 
tude of people panied by Abbot Baldwin and his monks, proceeded 

to the old basilica. The crowds of men and women x 
who during the last three days had flocked to the 
town filled the church and the adjoining churchyard. 
The bishop first blessed the holy water and sprinkled 
the altars and the clergy and people. The shrine 
or covering was next removed, and the coffin exposed 
to view. In a low tone the pontiff began the anti- 
phon " Iste sanctus," 2 and the monks around con- 
tinued it : " This saint strove for the law of his 
God even unto death. He feared not the gibes of 
the impious, for he was founded upon a strong rock." 

was buried in his own cathedral before the high altar." (" Hist, 
of Norfolk," vol. ii. p. 333). 

ROGER DE SKERING, or SCARNING, is the only other bishop 
of Norwich who is particularly connected with St. Edmund's 
Bury, to whose sanctuary he fled on Norwich being sacked by the 
disinherited barons, A.D. 1266. He was the 12th bishop of the see. 

1 Herman contrasts this presence of women round the shrine of 
St. Edmund with their absence near that of St. Cuthbert. For 
many years they were not allowed to enter Durham cathedral. 

2 Ant. Mag. in Communi unius Martyris. 


With pious emotion the bishop incensed the coffin, 

then bade the father of the monastery call forward 

the six monks chosen to carry upon their shoulders 

the " chest containing the precious pearl over which, 

after three hundred years, nay, after a thousand 

years, corruption cannot lord it." At the same time 

were translated the relics of St. Botulph and St. 

Firminus, whose shrines the sacrists Thurstan and also translated - 

Tolinus had newly carved, to stand sentinel on each 

side of St. Edmund. Thus with great pomp they bore 

the holy king and martyr to the new basilica. 

When the procession came to the low and narrow in the crush a 

soldier from 

south-door or the old church, the weight of the Northampton 

is injured, but 

martyr's body nearly overpowered the bearers. The n u i ^ ulously 
crowd rushed forward to help, and in the crush the 
arm of a soldier from Northampton l was wedged in 
between the coffin and the wall, so that the stone jamb 
grazed the flesh off the bone from the wrist to the 
elbow. Fearing the blood might soil the church or the 
pavement of the sanctuary, the soldier wrapped the 
injured arm in the soft fur of his military cloak. 
Meanwhile the clergy placed the martyr's relics on the 
porphyry altar which Pope Alexander had given to our 
Lady and St. Edmund. A sermon followed, 2 the bishop 
coming forth into the churchyard to preach to the 
people on the virtues and power of St. Edmund. 
While he was delivering his stirring address, the 

1 "Miles Hani tuniensis. " The county of Northampton was gene- 
rally called Hampton. Ingram remarks (" Anglo-Saxon Chronicle," 
Bohn's edition, note, p. 471) that Southampton was named 
Hampton to distinguish it from Northampton town, but the 
common people to this day say " Hampton " in both neighbour- 
hoods. See " Chronicle of Ramsey," Rolls Publ., pp. 93-167, and 
" Chronicon Petroburgense," Camden Series, vol. 47. MS. Titus 
A. viii. leaves no doubt that the soldier was from Northampton. 

2 Herman implies there were two sermons, one in the church 
and one in the churchyard : " In altaris crepidine fit sermo de 
sancta fide ; pnesul deforis in atrio verbum facit populo." 


soldier, sitting in the church, timidly examined his arm 
and to his astonishment found it healed, a scar alone 
remaining in testimony of the miracle. 
The saint's body Bishop Wakelin's words moved his hearers to have 

is borne outside 

the church, and recourse to the royal martyr to end the terrible 

the long drought 

ceases. drought which then afflicted the country. The dry- 

ness of the season " was so excessive," says the " Liber 
Ccenobii," " that the green corn, the grass, the early 
foliage, were parched for want of rain. The neces- 
saries of human life seemed in danger of perishing." 
" Famine," writes another chronicler, " threatened 
Britain." 1 " Cannot Edmund," murmured the people, 
" help us in our necessity ? " The general desire 
reached the bishop's ears. Interrupting his sermon, 
he caused the martyr's relics to be again carried 
forth in procession from the church and placed in 
the open air upon a heap of stones on an elevated 
spot. Then he again addressed the crowd on the 
merits of St. Edmund and the interest which he had 
ever taken in their welfare. The holy martyr stood in 
the presence of God to propitiate the Divine anger. 
Let them rouse their faith and call upon him for 
the long-needed rain. With a loud voice the bishop 
then thrice intoned the " Kyrie Eleison," and thrice the 
people repeated it " with voices discordant but with 
desires in harmony." And, " Behold, while they prayed 
to God, the saint also pleaded with Him. The 
heavens became overclouded, drops of grateful rain 
fell upon their face." 2 "A sudden fall of rain com- 
pelled those out of doors to seek shelter." 3 And, 
" Never in the memory of man did such abundance 
rejoice the heart of farmers as during that year." 4 

Theibishop pro- After the sermon the bishop gave his blessing 

claims an indul- 

Sy'avaTi hich and granted an indulgence, 5 which he extended to 


Cott. MS. Titus A. viii. - Herman. 3 Cott. MS. Titus A. viii. 
" Liber Coenobii." 5 Herman and Cott. MS. Titus A. viii. 


those absent who, within a given time, should visit 
the saint, a favour of which many throughout England 
availed themselves. " With praise and glory the 
holy martyr of God now took possession of his new 
resting-place, and there the solemn mass was ponti- 
fically celebrated." 1 

" While this was taking place, a man from London, f > nan ft ; ow 

' London lias 

approaching the heap of stones on which the coffin llis eye cuml< 
had reposed, piously kissed it, and with the stones 
touched his forehead and eyes. At the same time 
he called upon the name of Edmund from the bottom 
of his heart. Straightway a growth upon his eye from 
which he had suffered for a long time disappeared." 
" Thus," so runs the ancient lesson for the feast of 
this translation of St. Edmund, " in the year the 
225th from his passion and on the day aforesaid, 
to the great joy of the people, for the perpetual 
memory of the whole English nation, and for the 
glory of all the saints, the incorrupt body of the 
blessed martyr St. Edmund was translated, to rise in 
the future to eternal happiness." 


\Aitthorities The following is a digest of Section 5, Book II.. of the Cottonian 
Manuscript Titus A. viii. The writer, Osbert de Clare, prior of Westminster, 
A.D. 1130, speaks as a contemporary of the noble lady Seietha, from whom he 
heard the narrative. This event is also chronicled in Bodl. 240 f. 650.] 

" Many people as well as myself know personally The recluse 

i ,i T a j.1 IT Seietha, a n< 

or by report the religious woman Seietha, who lives lady, who ki 
a celibate life by the shrine of St. Edmund. Now 
far advanced in years and clothed in a nun's habit, 

1 Herman and Cott. MS. Titus A. viii. 



Relates how 
St. Edmund 
healed her 
right hand. 

she had as a girl at home refused the hand of the 
noblest and most illustrious Englishmen, in order to 
seek a heavenly spouse. The evil tempter, as the 
holy woman was wont to tell her near friends, 
appeared to her in sleep and tried to move her from 
her purpose. But she replied : ' My Lord Jesus Christ 
have T chosen for my spouse ; to Him have I vowed 
myself, to Him have I promised to preserve myself 
inviolate.' Sighing after the cloistral life, she travelled 
through the different counties of England, asking ad- 
mission at all the convents of virgins. Everywhere 
the crafty enemy prevented her entrance. Therefore 
it happened that she came to St. Edmund's at Abbot 
Baldwin's invitation yea, rather at the call of Christ 
and rested there. 

" From her own lips we have heard the following 
introduction to the rest of her story. ' One night,' 
she used to relate, ' I went out, leaning on my com- 
panion's arm, to attend matins. On coming to the 
yard through which we had to pass, I first opened 
the door and held it open for my companion ; but, 
although I tried to let it close gradually, the violence 
of the wind slammed it to, and crushed my right 
hand. The pain rendered me insensible, and I lay 
prostrate on the ground, while my companion, igno- 
rant of the accident, remained stupefied by my side. 
When I recovered a little, I did not give up my 
undertaking. Afterwards, however, on returning home 
with the swollen hand in my breast, I found the 
bone of my middle finger broken. Although in time 
it grew better, a swelling about the size of a nut 
remained over the place of the fracture, and per- 
manently disfigured the hand. One evening, as I 
kept my accustomed watch in the church, I quietly 
approached the spot where I knew the holy martyr 
rested, and, stretching out my deformed hand towards 


the shrine, I said in all simplicity : See, my lord, 
whether this swelling becomes thy handmaid. If it 
be thy will, I ask thee to take it away. I then with- 
drew from the asylum of the saint's presence. Next 
day, when I examined the finger, as I often did, 
the deformity was gone.' There are many surviving 
to this day who can vouch for the truth of this story, 
which does not rest merely on Seietha's evidence. 

" At the same time she used to add the following : Joiinus the 

Sacrist was her 

'Under the rule of Abbot Baldwin the venerable ^S u ^ uide . 

monk Tolinus lived in the monastery. In his life 

and conversation he was an edification to many, a 

mirror of innocence and a law of justice, and so he 

merited to be appointed to the office of sacrist. By 

word and example he endeavoured to allure all to a 

love of the heavenly country. Hence if any good 

can ever be in me or could have been, I owe it to 

his instructions and exhortations. 

" ' In the same year in which the translation of The same year 

as the great 

our most holy Father Edmund from the old church translation took 


to the new basilica took place the translation which 
is yearly commemorated on April the 29th after the 
solemnity of SS. Peter and Paul, I held frequent 
colloquies with Tolinus when I visited the church 
for prayer and edification. One clay, as he spoke to June 29, ion-,, 
me before the altar of St. John the Baptist on the 
contempt of the world, a sweet memory of St. Edmund 
which he ever cherished in his breast came to his 
lips. With eyes cast down I listened, and then per- 
versely asked, How is it, my father, : that we maintain 
his incorruption, when most contend that he has 
succumbed to decay ? For three days ago, as I made 
my way hither to implore his intercession, a certain venatonrfr? 11 * 

. . , , . specting the 

knight who met me, in the course of conversation incorruption 

of the martyr's 

questioned the integrity of the martyr and denied it. ^dy. 
1 " Domine mi." 


Nay ! I said to him. You err. Believe by acknow- 
ledging it, and acknowledge by believing it. Even 
as on the day he was crowned with martyrdom, so 
at the present is he incorrupt and entire. This I 
say in accordance with the common belief. For as 
yet I know no other argument to gainsay the calum- 
nies of the incredulous. On hearing this Tolinus 
sighed : Alas, my most dear friend, how grievously 
they err who doubt on this point. They ought rather 
to believe the omnipotence of God and admire His 
clemency. Would you like them waver in your 
faith ? I have no doubt, I replied, about the power 
of the Almighty, but I have never yet found the 
man who can satisfy me in this controversy. He 
answered, Will you accept my testimony in this 
altercation ? No argument, I replied, can tear from 
my heart what your inviolable word has confirmed. 
Toiinus assures Then stretching forth both his hands, he said : These 
three others had impure and unworthy hands have touched his sacred 

handled the in- 
corrupt body, limbs. These irreverent eyes have gazed upon his 

sweet and graceful face. Remembering that some 
bodies embalmed with aromatic spices have subsisted 
incorrupt, I feared not to boldly examine that body. 
And even as here you see my flesh, so equally soft and 
yielding flesh clothes the joints of St. Edmund's 
body. I confess I foolishly and presumptuously did 
it. May He pardon me who has granted me space 
up to now to repent ! And that there might be other 
witnesses I had associates in my deed, to wit, Dom 
William the prior, by whose authority and request 
I acted, and Sparawech my assistant, and Here ward 
the goldsmith. Shortly after hearing this, I bade 
farewell to the man of God, whom nevermore was I 
to see on earth. 

The sudden " ' The three whom that venerable man mentioned as 

ronr witnesses, his accomplices not long after fell mortally sick and 


confessed their rashness on their death-bed. None 
of them lived the year out. Tolinus indeed ex- 
ceeded the term allotted to the others who had 
proved the martyr's incorruption, but on the feast J . e 1T . A - u - 
of St. Botulph following, whilst he walked one 
early morn on the summit of the walls of the 
ehurcli inspecting the work, he suddenly fell head- 
long off. Nevertheless the divine clemency did not 
utterly desert him. For his habit caught in one of 
the scaffold poles which supported the planks. Some 
of the stonemasons, hoping to rescue him unhurt, 
quickly mounted the ladders. But too late. For, 
the hem of his habit giving way, lie fell on a heap 
of stones underneath. The workmen took him up 
half dead and with his limbs broken in several places 
by the severe collision. He lingered long enough 
to confess his aforementioned presumption and to 
receive the holy viaticum. Then he breathed his 
last in the midst of his brethren. I was overcome 
with grief on hearing the news three days after, and 
I begged my father abbot to let me approach the 
corpse of my dearest friend. Unwilling at first, he 
at length granted my request on account of my im- 
portunity and because he saw that I was prompted 
only by a religious motive. While the brethren 
performed the last obsequies, I busily recited the 
psalter for the soul of my friend. Now at sunset one 
evening, I was sitting in the church with the per- 
mission of the guardians, saying my office for his 
soul, and whilst I recited the 80th psalm in which 
the prophet admonishes us to exult in God, our helper, 
slumber overcame me, the codex slipped from my 
hand, my eyes closed and my head leaned against 
the wall at my back. Suddenly some one seized me , 

Tolinus appears 

by the shoulders and shook me violently, saying : to her in sloep - 
Will you sleep, while your dearest friend Tolinus 


suffers bitter pains ? I awoke, and the vision 

vanished, but the impression of his fingers remained, 

and I feel them now, though you can see nothing. 

He n-veais to a " ' About the same time and before the thirty days 

irreverent hami- from his death had elapsed, Tolinus appeared in sleep 

ling of the saint . 

is the cause of to one or the brethren with whom he had been most 

his detention in 

purgatory. familiar during life. By reason of their old friend- 
ship the monk ventured to address the vision : Why, 
my father, do I behold you darksome and bent with 
sorrow ? Tolinus answered : Because I am not yet 
n't to enter into the glory of the uncircumscribed 
light. And why, asked the monk, since you led 
a blameless life here ? The vision replied : I am 
punished because I dared to handle my lord Edmund 
with an unbelieving mind and to expose him to 
others to be handled. Therefore I beseech thy love 
to explain this to the brethren without delay, and to 
beg them to supplicate the Father of mercies and His 
faithful champion for me in my sufferings. 

The monks pray "'The brother, rising early, spoke to the assembled 

for their dead -11 -fir- 

brother and are brethren as he had been admonished. With fraternal 

assured after- 
wards that he anxiety they condoled with their departed companion 

is in glory. 

and without delay made every effort to conciliate 
the divine justice for him. After a lapse of about 
six months Tolinus again appeared to his friend, this 
time with a cheerful countenance and clothed with 
snow-white garments. And on his brother-monk 
asking how it fared with him, he answered : I have 
merited to meet with my liedeemer's clemency, and 
the grace of my lord Edmund. I now enjoy citizen- 
ship with him in heaven, to whom I faithfully minis- 
tered on earth. I continue to wait attendance on 
him. I see him and I admire his glory.'" 



[Authorities The events of this and of the following section immortalized by an 
author of some fame in English literature are probably the widest known of 
any in St. Edmund's history. They are taken from the " Chronica Jocelini de 
Brakelonda de rebus gestis Ssmsonis Abb.itis Monastcrii Sancti Edmundi," a 
work edited by Mr. John Rokewood for the Camden Society in 1840, and four 
years later translated into English by Mr. E. Tomkins as a specimen of 
" Social and Monastic Life in the Twelfth Century." Carlyle in his commen- 
tary upon it in "Past and Present" says: "Once written in its childlike 
transparency, in its innocent good humour, not without touches of ready 
pleasant wit, and many kinds of worth, other men liked naturally to read, 
whereby it failed not to be copied, to be multiplied, to be inserted in the 
' Liber Albus,' and so, surviving Henry VIII., Putney Cromwell, the dissolu- 
tion of Monasteries, and all accidents of malice and neglect for six centuries or 
so, it got into the Harleian collection, and has now, therefrom, by Mr. 
Rokewood of the Camden Society been deciphered into clear print, and lies 
before us a dainty thin quarto, to interest for a few minutes whomsoever it 
can." The writer of this interesting piece received the name of Brakelond 
from a street or quarter of old St. Edmund's Bury. In 1173 lie entered the Bene- 
dictine noviciate, and later on became chaplain to Abbot Samson, his former 
novice-master. Jocelin was "an ingenious and ingenuous, a cheery-hearted, 
innocent yet withal shrewd, noticing, quick-witted man." He had in fact 
that wise monastic simplicity which looks from under the monk's cowl with 
" much natural sense." A fellow-monk speaks of him as " eximi;e religionis, 
potens sermone et opere." " Living beside my lord abbot, night and day for 
the space of six years," he became his Boswell, making him live again 
"visible and audible" for the benefit of moderns. Samson, who regarded 
himself as nothing if not the lirst servant and attendant of St. Edmund, after 
a fire in the vicinity of the shrine in 1198, translates and verifies his patron's 
relics. His faithful chaplain records all that happens with "a veracity 
which goes deeper than words." No more reliable authority can therefore be 
desired for this part of the great martyr's history.] 

Before attaining the dignity of mitred abbot of St. Samson of 


Edmund's Bury, Samson of Tottingliam proved him- 
self a man of no ordinary character. After his 
return from studying at Paris he could preach in 
three languages, and no more efficient teacher could 
be found for the town-school. In the time of the 
antipopes, when business was to be done with the 
true pope at Home, monk Samson was chosen to do 
it. Disguising himself as a Scotchman, he reached 
his destination in safety, and returned, though too 
late, with his cause won. Through no fault of his 
he could not always bene stare cum ctbbate stand well 
with the abbot, for time-server and flatterer he would 
not be. When, however, he came to be better under- 
stood, Abbot Hugo made him subsacrist, librarian, 


His character He had been well schooled and had learnt some- 

aiid appearance 

thing of human nature, and so he discharged his 
offices to perfection. But he remained all the while 
unchanged. At severity he had not complained, at 
kindness he did not break out into smiles and thanks. 
Abbot Hugo says that he has " never seen such a 
man." In this way, always right-honest, dutiful, 
grave, devout, Samson readied his seven-and-fortieth 
year. His make resembled his character. He was 
not tall and slim, but stout-made, erect and solid 
as one of the massive Norman towers of his own 
church. Nearly bald, with a face neither round nor 
yet long, black and slightly curly hair somewhat hoary, 
a grizzled reddish beard slightly tinged with grey, 
a prominent nose, thick lips, and from under bushy 
but lofty eye-brows two clear and very piercing eyes, 
he did not therefore present an unpleasant appear- 
ance, for kindliness of heart softened his features 
and mellowed the resolution of his face. Altogether 
he inspired confidence rather than fear, so that, when 
Abbot Hugo was killed by a fall from his horse on 
his way to the shrine of St. Thomas of Canterbury, 
the monks, trying to make up their minds, flitting 
from one proper person to another, seemed mostly 
to revert to Brother Samson as the future abbot. 

When King Henry II., still repentant for the 
The election of murder of Archbishop Thomas, decided to grant St. 

Abbot Samson, , ,. . i ,_ i j i_i 

Feb. 2i,A.D. Edmunds convent a free election, he summoned the 
prior and his twelve to meet him at Bishop Waltham 
in Hampshire. By Brother Samson's advice, before 
leaving home, an electoral committee chose in secret 
three names of members of their own abbey, which 
they gave in a sealed paper to the prior and their 
other deputies. When the king called for three 
names, they broke the seal and read out the three 
names. Samson's stood first. The king orders them 


to nominate three others of their own community, 
and they do so without hesitation. Astonished at 
their expedition, the king says, "God is with them." 
But for the honour of his realm he bids them add 
three monks of other convents ; then to strike off 
three ; to strike off another three, and lastly to strike 
off one. Samson and the prior are left. Venerable 
Brother Denis the cellarer in the name of the rest 
discusses the merits of these two. He praises both 
as good men, of regular life, learned, but he ever 
puts Samson forward " in angulo sui sermonis " in 
the corner of his speech. The presiding bishop of 
Winchester interrupts. " We see clearly what you 
wish to say. It is evident you consider your prior 
somewhat lax and you prefer Samson. Of two 
good men you must choose the best. Speak out, do 
you want Samson ? " The majority answer, " Volu- 
inus Samsonem " " We want Samson. " A few 
keep silence, so as not to offend either candidate 
So Samson is nominated and presented at once to the 
king, who accepts him : " I know him not," says 
Henry ; " your prior I know, and I would have accep- 
ted him ; but as you wish. If your choice does 
badly, per veros oculos Dei, 1 I warn you, you shall 
repent of it." The prior answered the king that 
Samson deserved even greater honours. The new 
abbot knelt and kissed the royal feet, then, quickly 
rising and quickly turning towards the altar, he 
(intoned in clear tenor voice the " Miserere mei Deus," 
chanting it with his brethren with head erect and 
unchanged countenance. " That man," exclaimed the 
king in astonishment, " believes himself fit to guard 
his abbey." 

Seven days later, on the 28th of February, Samson, 
was blessed by the bishop of Winchester. He 

1 A common oath of the Norman kings. 


announced his intention of arriving at St. Edmund's 

ay B ur 7 on tae Palm Sunday following to take possession 
March 21, ii 82 : of hig abbey Qn thafc day the bells of gfc Edmund's 

rent the air with their clangour, and the pealing of 
the organ echoed through the arches of the grand 
abbey. Knight and viscount, weaver and spinner, 
shopman and burgess, stately dame and homely 
housewife, chubby infants and old men, hastened out 
to see the lord abbot arrive. He stood at the gates, 
while they stripped off his sandals, and they solemnly 
led him barefoot to the high altar and to the shrine- 
On the sudden silence of bell and organ, monks and 
people kneel in prayer, and the lord abbot prostrates. 
Bell and organ again burst forth, while the " Te 
Deum " is chanted by all in the vast minster, and 
Samson is abbot. 
Abbot Samson's Without delay he attacked the difficult work before 


him. The dilapidated monastery needed repairing, 
the boundless debts clearing off. The harpy Jews 
and their bonds had to be banished St. Edmund's 
liberties, l and dissatisfied monks to be managed. 
Neither did he neglect the national duties of his high 
position. At one time he marched with his men to 
oppose John's pretensions during the absence of his 
brother Cceur-de-Lion ; at another he sat in parliament, 
making generous sacrifices for liichard's redemption, but 
daring peers spiritual or temporal those who would 
to. lay hands on St. Edmund's shrine. Sixteen years 
thus passed away in earnest work. He had built and 
restored hospitals and schools ; he had raised good 
dwellings for the people ; he had repaired all that 
was ruinous, completed churches and church-steeples, 
and built up anew the great tower of St. Edmund's 

One thing remained undone the dearest to the 
1 Tliis was necessary to protect them from the populace. 


great abbot's heart. Long before his hair had turned Samson's devo- 

tion to st> 
snow-white with worry and work, he had wished Edmund. 

to erect a new shrine for St. Edmund. For after 
God did he not owe all to him who had singled 
him out and saved him in his boyhood to be his 
servant ? Jocelin relates a dream which he had 
heard from the lips of Samson that shows the 
abbot's early indebtedness to the royal martyr's 
patronage. When he was a child of nine years old so 
the faithful chaplain writes, as he lay uneasily in 
his little bed at Tottingham, he dreamt that he was 
standing before a noble and stately gateway, when 
the arch-fiend with black-webbed wings swooped 
down, and with clawed hands would have gripped 
him, had not St. Edmund, who stood by, snatched 
him up in his arms. Whereupon the little sleeper 
shrieked out, " St. Edmund, save me ! " and thus, 
while he called upon him whose name he had 
never heard, devil and dream passed away. His 
mother, alarmed at the outcry and the accompanying 
dream, took the little boy on the morrow to pray 
before St. Edmund's shrine. At the sight of the 
cemetery gate, l the Norman gate of Abbot Baldwin, 
the child cried out, " See, mother, this is the place, 
this is the gate which I saw in my dream, when 
the devil was about to seize me." He recognised 
the place, he said afterwards, just as if he had 
actually seen it before with his natural eyes. His 
eood mother there and then dedicated him to St. 


Edmund and with prayers and tears left him in 
care of the monks. In after days Samson was wont 
to thus interpret his dream : the demon with sable 
outstretched wings foreshadowed the sin and pleasure 
of this world, which would have made him their 
own had not St. Edmund flung his arms around 
1 Which is still left standing. 


him and made him one of his monks. From the 
day of that dream Samson ever looked up to St. 
Edmund as his special father and friend. 
He has recourse At the time of the antipopes. when Geoffrey Eidel 

to him in time 

of trial. laid claim to the benefice of Woolpit, Samson was 

sent to the true pope, Alexander II., to defend the 
rights of the abbey. He ran considerable risks, for 

AD 1159 to 1102 ^ ne em P eror ' s P art y > which supported the antipope 
Octavian, waylaid all clerks carrying letters of Pope 
Alexander. They would imprison or hang them, or 
cut off their lips and noses and send them back to 
the pope. However, by acting as a Scot, l and after 
many sufferings and adventures, Samson saw the 
pope and won his cause, and got back home with 
his letter from "our lord the pope." But he found 
he was too late, and he sat him down disheartened 
and alone in the quiet dim apse under the shadow 
of St. Edmund's shrine. " In the wide earth," asks 
his eulogist, " if it be not St. Edmund, what friend 
or refuge has he ? " There he sat sorrowful and 
silent. All his stratagems and disguises had been, 
in vain. His mission had failed. Woolpit church 
had already been given to Geoffrey Ridel. The 
abbot was angry, and therefore no monk or layman 
durst speak to weary Samson or bring him food 
except by stealth. Only God and St. Edmund con- 
soled him at that moment and afterwards, when the 
abbot's officers imprisoned him for his tardiness,, 
though it was no fault of his. When he rose to- 
favour later and became sub-sacrist, he did not forget 
his patron, and collected money and materials to erect 
something for St. Edmund, but the king's officers pro- 
hibited all spending of funds during the vacancy 2 except 
for the reduction of the debt. On becoming abbot he- 

1 The Scottish kingdom sided with Octavian. 

2 After Abbot Hugo's death. 


determined to repair the church, yet twelve years passed 
before, by careful management^ he] freed the abbey 
from debt. At last he said he would stay more at 
home, " for the presence of the master is the profit 
of the field, " l and devote himself to claustral affairs. 
The church needed his whole care. He had sacri- 
ficed many things for King Kichard's ransom among 
other precious ornaments the silver table of the high 
altar. He now resolved to construct something 
which could not possibly be abstracted and where 
no sacrilegious thief would venture a new and 
rich shrine over St. Edmund's body. 

Accordingly he directed the preparation of a most Samson's design 

for a new shrine. 

valuable outer covering, or feretry, to contain the loculus, 
or coffin. He arranged that the panels should be all 
of beaten gold inlaid with gems, and the roof and 
gables crested with delicately worked battlements. 
To support this gorgeous outer shell, he designed 
a pedestal of blocks of polished marble, sculptured 
into miniature pillars, and arches, and pinnacles and 
crochets. Whilst the abbot planned and designed all 
this, an event occurred which brought about its speedy 
execution. The devout and reverential Jocelin thus 
relates it: 

"In the year of grace 1198, a great panic seized The high aitr 

aloft on which 

the convent, and the glorious Martyr Edmund raised stands the 

shrine is 

it, for he wished to make us learn to keep his are 26 * 1 by 
sacred body more diligently and reverently than we 
had hitherto done. A wooden platform covered the 
space between the shrine and the altar, 2 and upon 
it the guardians of the shrine kept two tapers 

1 "Pnesentia Domini provectus est agri." "The eye of the 
master maketh the ox fat," "The eye of the master does more 
work than his hands," are similar proverbs, 

8 The shrine stood behind and above the table of the altar as a 
kind of reredos, and in front of it hung the golden " Majestas," or 
vessel in which the Blessed Sacrament was reserved. 



constantly burning, clapping new candles upon the old 
in a slovenly manner. Under the platform, flax and 
thread, wax ends, rags, and various utensils were 
unbecomingly huddled away. In fact, whatever the 
guardians of the shrine used they put there out of 
the way, and concealed all behind a door with iron 

Oct. 17. " One night, the eve of the feast of St. Etheldreda, 

while the guardians were asleep, a candle which 
they had carelessly fixed upon another fell, while 
still alight, upon the platform. The linen cloths at 
once caught fire, which soon spread to the wood- 
work and the wax and rubbish underneath. Lo ! 
the wrath of the Lord ' was kindled,' l but not without 
mercy, according to that, ' In wrath He remembered 
mercy.' 2 For just then the clock struck the hour 
for matins, though it was not yet time, and when 
the master of the vestiary got up, he noticed the 
unusual glare of fire around the shrine and ran to 
strike the gong as if for the dead. At the same 
time he cried at the top of his voice that the shrine 
was on fire. We rushed to the church, where we 
found that the fire was burning fiercely, the 
flames actually encircling the whole shrine, and 
mounting almost to the beams of the church-roof. 
Our juniors ran for water, some to the well, some 
to the clock ; 3 others with great difficulty smothered 
the flames with their cowls or rescued from destruc- 
The feretry or tion the sanctuary furniture. When they threw the 
narrowly es- cold water upon the heated stones, it crumbled them 

eaped destruc- 

tion > to dust ; the wood underneath the plates of silver 

was charred to the thickness of my finger, leaving 

1 Numb. xi. 33. 2 Habac. iii. 2. 

3 This little incident shows that the abbey-clock was worked by 


the nails standing out, and the plates themselves 

hung loose, having lost the support of the nails 

that fastened them. The golden majestas in front 

of the shrine, with some of the stone-work, remained 

undamaged. If anything, the majestas, being all of 

gold, looked brighter than before. Providentially And the rood 

the great beam behind the altar had been removed and 

for fresh carving. It supported the crucifix and our 

Lady and St. John, and on it rested other sacred 

and precious objects. The chest containing St. 

Edmund's camisia, and some other reliquaries and 

relics generally hung from the beam. All, however, 

had been previously removed, otherwise they would 

have been burnt like the tapestry, which hung in 

the place of the beam. What would it have been, 

had the church been curtained ? Having made sure 

that the fire had not penetrated to the sacred coffin, 

we next carefully examined if there were any chinks 

or cracks. 

" When all had cooled, and our anxiety had in a t. Edmund's 
great measure subsided, behold ! some of the brethren unfnjured" 
exclaimed with plaintive voice that St. Edmund's 
cup was destroyed. A search amongst the debris of 
stones and cinders brought to light the cup unin- 
jured and perfect, lying amongst pieces of charred 
wood, and wrapped up in a half-burnt linen cloth. 
The fire had burnt to ashes the oaken box which 
had enclosed it, leaving only the iron band and iron 
lock. We wept for joy at the marvellous preserva- 
tion of the cup. 

" We now saw that the greater number of the metal The damage 
plates which faced the shrine were stripped off. is repaired" 10 
While therefore we blamed the disgraceful sloven- 
liness of the keepers, we all agreed to secretly call 
in the goldsmith to our assistance, and to make him 
join together the metal plates and fix them again 


to the shrine, in order to avoid scandal. At the 
same time we removed all traces of the fire. But, 
as the evangelist bears witness : ' There is nothing 
covered that shall not be revealed.' l Very early 
in the morning some pilgrims came to make their 
offerings, and, although they could perceive no vestige 
of the fire, yet some of them, peering about, asked 
where it had broken out, for the news had already 
spread. Since we could not altogether conceal the 
fact, we answered these prying folk that a candle 
had fallen down and burnt three napkins, and that 
the heat of the flames had damaged the stone-work 
in front of the shrine. Yet some spread the rumour 
that the saint's head was burnt, while others said 
that the hair only was singed. The truth after- 
wards became known, and the mouth was stopped of 
them that spoke wicked things. 2 All this happened 
by the providence of God, in order to teach us to 
keep more becomingly the shrine and its surround- 
ings ; and also to enable our lord abbot to more 
speedily and thoroughly fulfil his desire of placing 
the holy martyr's body in security and honour in a 
more prominent position. Already before this un- 
fortunate accident, the golden crest-work was half 
completed, and the marble blocks on which the 
feretry was to be raised were nearly all prepared 
and polished. 

The shnne or " By the f east of St. Edmund everything was ready. 
The feast fell on Friday. On the Sunday following 3 

high altar, Nov. 

20,1198. a three days' fast was proclaimed to the people 

and its object explained to them. The abbot himself 
exhorted the brethren to prepare themselves for the 
removal of the shrine to the high altar, on which it 
was to stand, while the masons erected its base of 

1 St. Luke xii. 2. 2 Pa. Ixii. 12. 

3 I.e., the Sunday within the Octave. 


marble. The abbot arranged the time and manner 
of carrying out the work. That night, when we 
came to matins, we found the large feretry standing 
upon the altar. It was empty and lined with white 
doe-skins fixed to the wood with silver nails, and 
one panel was removed and placed on one side 
against a pillar. The holy body lay in its usual 
place at the back of the altar. 

" After chanting lauds we took our disciplines. The coverings 

are taken off the 

Then the lord abbot with some of the brethren coffln or loculus - 

vested in albs, approached the coffin with becoming 

reverence, and proceeded to uncover it. An outer 

linen cloth enveloped all. We found this tied on 

the upper side with strings of its own. A silken 

cloth was next folded round the coffin, then another 

linen cloth, and then a third, after which 

the coffin stood exposed. It rested upon a little 

wooden tray to prevent injury from the marble. 

Affixed to the outside over the martyr's breast lay 

a golden angel about the length of a man's foot, 

holding in one hand a golden sword and in the other 

a banner ; under this we saw the hole in the lid 

through which the ancient keepers put their hands 

for the purpose of touching the sacred body. Over 

the figure of the angel ran this superscription : 

/foartirts ecce soma servat /nbicbaelfs agalma. 1 
" Near the figure of the angel we found the silk 
bag wherein Ailwin, the bishop and monk, 
deposited the schedule written in English, which 
contained certain salutations or devout praises of 
St. Edmund. 

" Now iron rings projected from the ends of the 
coffin in Norman fashion. 2 The brethren in white 

1 " Behold, the Martyr's body St. Michael's image keeps." See 
Leland's "Collect.," vol. i. p. 267, the zoma is more correctly 
spelt with an s. 

- "Incista Norensi." 


The coffin with albs, taking hold of these, carried the coffin to the 

the sacred body 

s placed within altar. And I lent thereto my sinful hand, although 
the shrine. J 

the abbot had commanded that none should come 
nigh unless called. The coffin was placed within 
the shrine, the panel put back and fastened, and 
for the present the shrine closed. We all thought 
that the abbot would show the coffin to the people, 
and some time during the octave of the feast bring 
forth the sacred body before us all. In this, how- 
ever, we were woefully mistaken, as the following 
will show." 


[Authorities The same as for the previous section.] 

Samson desires " On Wednesday while the community sang corn- 
to look upon St. 

Edmund's face, pline, the abbot consulted in private with the sacrist 
and Walter the physician regarding the appointment 
against midnight of twelve brethren strong enough 
to carry the panels of the shrine, and skilful l in 
unfixing and refixing them. Moreover the abbot 
said that he desired to look upon the face of his 
master and to associate with him in that act the sacrist 
and Walter the physician. To be present on the occa- 
sion he selected his two chaplains, the two keepers of 
the shrine, the two masters of the vestiary and six 
others, Hugo the sacrist, Walter the physician, Augus- 
tine, William of Diss, Eobert and Eichard. 

Attended by "When the convent was asleep, these twelve, 

twelve of the 

opensthe Coffin, dothed in white albs, removed a panel of the shrine, 
1 1 Paralipomenon xxii. 15. 


and drew out the coffin, which they laid upon a 
table prepared for it near the site of the old shrine. 
Then they began to take off the lid, which proved 
a difficult task, for sixteen long iron nails held it 
to the coffin. When this was accomplished, the abbot 
motioned all except his two aforenamed associates 
to retire a little. Now the sacred body so filled the 
coffin, both in length and width, that between the 
head and the wood, and between the feet and the 
wood, hardly space to put a needle remained. The 
head lay united to the body somewhat raised on a 
little pillow. The abbot straightway examined the 
sacred relics. He found them protected by a silk 
cloth over a linen cloth spotlessly white. On the 
face rested a small linen cloth over one of very fine 
silk, like a nun's veil. The body itself was wrapped 
in a linen sheet, under which its outlines were visible. 

"Here the abbot paused, and said that he durst The holy body 

exposed to view. 

not proceed further and look upon the sacred flesh 
uncovered. But, taking the head between his hands, 
he murmured : ' glorious martyr St. Edmund, blessed 
be the hour wherein thou wast born. glorious 
martyr, turn not to my perdition my boldness in 
touching thee, sinful and miserable as I am. Thou 
knowest my devotion and my intention.' And pro- 
ceeding he passed his hands over the eyes and the 
very massive and prominent nose ; he touched the 
breast and arms, and, raising the left hand, put his 
fingers between the fingers of the saint. He found 
the feet standing stiff upright, like the feet of a man 
who had died that day, and he touched the toes 
and counted them. 1 

1 The following occurred in the Life of St. Thomas of Canter- 
bury and is quoted by F. Morris, S.J., in his history of the arch- 
bishop, page 576 : 

" When he raised from the earth to his shrine the Blessed 


Twenty-two "And now it was proposed to call the other ten 

other monks 

see the body. forward to see the marvel, and also six others, while 
six more stole in without the abbot's leave, viz., 
Walter of St. Alban's, Hugh the infirmarian, Gilbert 
the brother of the prior, Eichard of Hingham, Jocell 
the cellarer, and Thurstan the Little. All these 
looked upon the saint, but Thurstan alone put forth 
his hand and touched the feet and knees. 

John of Diss and "In order that there might be an abundance of 

others look down 

from the roof, witnesses the Most High disposed that John of 
Diss, sitting in the roof of the church with the 
servants of the vestiary, should look down and see 
the proceedings." 

The soiemness A strange and solemn scene ! The monastery 

of the scene. 

silent ! The world asleep ! The darkness of night 
outside, and a gloom in the long nave of the 
church ! One spot alone luminous ! and Brother 
John and his assistants, peering down from the roof, 
see it, the flicker of tapers and lamps illumining 
a group of white-albed and black-cowled men re- 
verently gathered round and bending over the pale 
and placid form of the martyr Edmund. 

" Let the modern eye look earnestly on that old 
midnight hour in St. Edmund's Bury church, shining 
yet on us, ruddy bright, through the depths of 

Cuthbert, the bishop beloved of God and venerable amongst men, 
and touched each of his limbs and his face and all the members 
of the saint which had suffered no corruption though 600 years 
had passed, for he had lived a virgin from his childhood, faniou 
for holiness and miracles, the king asked the archbishop how he 
presumed to touch all the members of so great a saint ; on which 
the man of God replied ' Do not wonder, sire, at this, that with 
my consecrated hands I have touched him, for far higher is that 
sacrament which day by day I, as other priests, handle on the 
altar, the blessed Body of Christ, which is committed to three 
orders of priests, deacons and subdeacons.' " (" Anecdota Bedse," 
&C., edit. Giles, Caxton Soc., 1851, p. 234.) 


seven hundred years ; and consider mournfully what 
our hero worship once was, and what it now is. . . 
On the whole who knows how to reverence the 
body of a man ? It is the most reverend phenomenon 
under the sun." x Yet the modern world often worships 
those whose moral life has been questionable and whose 
deeds have not always resulted in unmixed good. Not 
so Abbot Samson and his monks in the great church 
over the dead martyr endued with Christ's incorruption. 
No questionable reverence theirs. If men may worship 
any mortal relics, surely they may worship here. 

After the abbot and his monks, Jocelin continues' 
had indentified the sacred body and satisfied their 

The body is 

reverence, they replaced the silken and linen cloths cov ? red P 
and fastened the lid down again with its sixteen 
ancient nails. Then placing the coffin on its wooden 
tray, they conveyed it to its ordinary place. On the 
lid, close to the figure of the angel, they again deposited 
the silk bag containing the monk Ailwin's parchment. 
By the abbot's order another document, couched 
in the following terms, was penned there and then, 
and enclosed in the same packet : 

" Bnno ab incarnatione SJomini /lfcG. nonagestmo octavo, 
abbas Samson, tractus oevotfone, corpus Sancti Beomunoi 
vioft et tettgft, nocte projima post festum Sanctee IRatber* 
ina: bis testibus : " - 

Then followed the signatures of eighteen monks. 
The brethren now enveloped the whole coffin in a 
linen wrapper, and over the linen wrapper they 
threw a new and costly covering of silk, which 
Hubert archbishop of Canterbury gave as an offering 
to St. Edmund that very year. They doubled 
lengthways on the stone a linen cloth to keep 

1 Carlyle, "Past and Present," pp. 105-107, edit. 1872. 

2 "In the year from the Lord's Incarnation MCXCVIIL, 
Abbot Samson upon an impulse of devotion saw and touched 
the body of St. Edmund on the night immediately following the 
feast of St. Catherine, in presence of these witnesses : " 



The abbot de- 
poses the for- 
mer keepers 
and draws up 
new rules. 

the coffin or tray from damp. Then they lifted 
Midnight. * ne panels of the shrine into their place and fastened 

them together before the convent assembled for matins. 1 
The grief of the On perceiving what had taken place those who had been 

monks who were 

not present. absent were filled with grief, each saying to himself, 
" Alas ! I was deceived ! " Matins over, the abbot 
called the brethren around him at the foot of the 
high altar and briefly explained what he had done, 
alleging that he ought not to and could not invite 
them all to be present on such an occasion. 

Four days later the abbot deposed the keepers of 
the shrine and the keeper of St. Botulph's, at the 
same time appointing others and issuing new 
regulations for the more careful and becoming 
guardianship of the holy places. The high altar, which 
had hitherto been used as a receptacle for the 
irreverent storage of miscellaneous articles, the 
abbot ordered to be made solid with stone and 
cement, as well as the space between the shrine 

1 The new shrine which Abbot Samson constructed lasted 
till the sixteenth century, when the desecrators under Henry VIII. 
described it as " most comberous to efface. " The print no. 463 in 
Knight's " Old England, "vol. i., gives some idea of it, and the limn- 
ing in Lydgate's MS. Harl. 2267 depicts it "as of gold standing on 
a pedestal of gothic stonework," and sculptured with miniature 
pillars and arches and pinnacles and crochets. Since the style of 
both shrine and pedestal was not generally known at the end of 
the 12th century, Abbot Samson's workmen must have been 
among the most skilful of their time and the pioneers of the 
decorated gothic so common fifty years later. After ages, however, 
may have added the elaborate sculpture and other embellishments. 
Jocelin confirms this supposition when he tells us, inspeakingof the 
punishment of Geoffrey Rufus, that Abbot Samson laid hold of 200 
marks and set them aside for the front of St. Edmund's shrine. This 
evidently implies further improvements. In fact, Abbot Samson's 
structure lent itself to any amount of adornment. The 
gold-plated panels were so thick and massive that they required 
several strong men to lift them into place, and the base was 
formed of large solid blocks of marble. Thus substantial foun- 
dations existed for goldsmith and sculptor to work upon. 


and the altar, so that henceforth he averted any 
danger from fire through the negligence of the keepers, 
according to that wise saw : 

" Happy is the man whom the peril of others makes wary." x 


[Authorities Abbot Samson's translation of St. Edmund's glorious and incorrupt 
body was the sixth, and his[ verification of it the seventh. The longest interval 
between any of these translations or verifications was 103 years. The monas- 
tic records minutely describe them up to 1198, but after that period they are 
ominously silent. To pursue the history of the saint it is necessary to turn 
to French authorities, and principally to Pierre de Caseneuve and the traditions 
of the church Saint-Sernin at Toulouse. The " Propre de la Basilique Saint- 
Sernin, publie en 1(572 avec trois approbations," distinctly states that the 
body of St. Edmund " translatum fuitin Gallias a regeLudovico Octavo," and 
the approved nocturn lessons now in use at Toulouse assert the same fact. A 
pamphlet on " The Relics of St. Edmund " by Lord Francis Hervey, printed at 
the " Standard " office, Bury-St.-Edmund's, 18S6, discusses the whole question 
whether Louis the Dauphin, afterwards Louis VIII., stole the body of St. 
Edmund and carried it to France. The " monks " of St. Sernin's, whom the 
learned lord mentions, were really Augustinian canons, and the " certain 
devout exercises in Latin," the nocttmi lessons of the saint's office. Apart 
from these inaccuracies the pamphlet is interesting as a summary of the 
French tradition. The history of King John's last days fully bears out the 
statements of Caseneuve anil the tradition of Toulouse. See Holinshed, edit, 
of 1577, vol. ii. p. 597 ; Matthew of Paris, Rolls Series, ii. 655 ; Roger of Wen- 
dover, Bonn's ed. vol. ii. p. 385 ; Yates' " Hist, of Bury-St.-Edmund's," 
p. 147, etc.] 

In the stirring times of the great struggle for 8t . Edmund's 
Magna Charta St. Edmund's Bury played a con- straggle for 6 

. Magna Charta. 

spicuous part. The tradition ol the abbey prompted 
the monks to side with the king. The ever present 
body of their royal patron without doubt fostered a 
feeling of loyalty. In the late reign Abbot Samson 
had put on his helmet and led his men in person to 
the siege of Windsor, in order to oppose John's plot 
to supplant his brother Richard the Lion-Heart. 
He even excommunicated all in his jurisdiction who 
favoured the would-be usurper and proclaimed him- 
self ready to go in disguise or in any other way 

. 1 Erasmus, referring to Samson, quotes this old monastic saw, 
"Felix quern faciunt aliena pericula cautum." (" Adag.," 616.) 


to search for his rightful sovereign. Abbot and 
monks just as readily espoused John Lackland's 
cause when that prince lawfully ascended the throne. 
In return John confirmed their liberties in the first 
year of his reign, frequently paid them friendly visits, l 
and, when the monks granted him for life the valuable 
jewels which his mother Queen Eleanor had be- 
queathed to the abbey, exempted them from taxation, 
terons ^ l1 ^ the mon ^ s> ^J^Y did not prevent the barons 
from assembling in the abbey church in 1205 at the 
commencement of their constitutional struggle with 
John. One king in his day had ruled wisely and 
died manfully in defence of the liberty and religion 
of his people. Could they have a more fitting patron ? 
Under his protection the primate Hubert and the 
Earl Marshal could unite the nation against a 
tyrannical king and show the new spirit of national 
freedom which the hitherto humbled Church and 
baronage had assumed. 
John's unconsti- The death of Archbishop Hubert of Canterbury, 

tutional action. 

the election of two rival successors, the putting 
aside of both by Pope Innocent III. and the appoint- 
ment of Stephen Cardinal Langton followed in quick 
succession. John defiantly refused to receive the 
new primate and thus brought the struggle to a 
head. Innocent was not a pontiff to be thwarted in 
his government of the Church by a king notorious 
for faithlessness, tyranny, shamelessness and utter 
selfishness. He laid the country under an interdict. 
The churches were closed, the bells silenced; the 
solemn round of services ceased ; chant and organ 
were hushed throughout the length and breadth of 
the land. The sacraments were administered privately ; 

1 Jocelin says : " King John, immediately after his coronation, 
setting aside all other affairs, came down to St. Edmund, drawn 
thither by his vow and by devotion." (A.D. 1199.) 


the dead received burial without mass or dirge. 
Like other churches, St. Edmund's was closed, 
the lights around the shrine were extinguished, and 
the frequent pilgrimages discontinued. During the 
four years of interdict the disaffection of the king's 
subjects grew. The outraged leaders banded together 
in secret conspiracy and at length proclaimed a 
crusade under the generalship of Philip of France. 
John, in order to gain breathing time, submitted to 
the papal legate. He hoped with the alliance of the 
Emperor and the Flemings to crush France and 
have clergy and baronage at his mercy. But France 
was victorious in the battle of Bouvines, and John 
returned to England to find the barons strongly 
united in defence of law and liberty. 

A second time St. Edmund figures in the scene. The second 

meeting of the 

" The time is favourable," they said, " the feast of ^ rons * st - 

* Edmund a 

St. Edmund approaches. Amidst the crowds that shnne - 
resort to his shrine we may assemble without sus- 
picion." The undertaking was hazardous. Some 
would perhaps waver, unless their resolution were 
clenched by an oath and by the example of Martyr 
Edmund. On the saint's feast, therefore, Nov. 20, NOV. 20, 
1214, the primate met the barons at the shrine, and 
in the soft quiet glimmer of the relighted tapers 
they, one by one, with slow and measured step, 
approached the high altar, and, laying their hand 
upon it, vowed to heaven never to sheath the sword 
till the king granted the charter which they saw 
held unfolded before them. l 

Seven months later John signed the Magna Charta 
on an island in the Thames, in the face of a nation 
under arms encamped in the neighbouring meadow 
of Kunnymede. 

1 Abbot Samson had passed to his reward two years previous, and 
Hugh of Northwold ruled the abbey. 


The war around That day, however, did not bring the long-wished- 

St. Edmund. ft ,, , , -1,1-^1 

for peace. The war soon broke out again, and the East 
of England became the field, and St. Edmund's Bury 
the centre of conflict between John and the barons, 
and afterwards between the English and French. In 
the consequent turmoil and confusion St. Edmund's 
body disappeared. At the beginning of hostilities 
the barons fortified the saint's town and abbey, an 
action which John deeply resented in a letter to 
the monks dated St. Alban's, the 18th day of 
December, 1215. Yet, when he let loose his foreign 
hordes under the Earl of Salisbury to burn and 
destroy Norfolk and Suffolk, he reverently spared 
both town and abbey. 

The French The barons, driven to despair by the king's dogged 

resistance, a second time sought the aid of France. 
Philip Augustus, glad of an opportunity of punish- 
ing John for his repeated treachery and crimes, 
quickly despatched Louis the Dauphin with a con- 
siderable army to their help. While in England thi s 
Louis, the father of St. Louis, and afterwards King 
Louis VIII., surnamed Le Gros, robbed the nation 
of Edmund's body. Before the war brought him to 
East Anglia, Louis received the homage of the 
barons in St. Paul's, and with it the support ot the 
country. But his soldiers proved a greater scourge 
than John's mercenaries ; and a reported design on 
the part of the French to surplant the English 
nobles took the soul out of Louis' cause. At the 
same time occurred John's disaster in crossing the 
Wash, his sudden death and the coronation at 
Gloucester of his son Henry III., then only ten 
years old. The whole sympathy of the nation went 
out towards the innocent boy-king, and even Louis 
was induced to make a short truce. On his return from 
France at Easter time, 1217, hostilities recommenced 


with the march of the confederates from London 
to the relief of Montsorel. 

In this expedition the French freely indulged in The French 

soldiers rob 

their well-known propensity for stealing the relics the churches 

of their relics. 

of saints from churches. 1 Eoger of Wendover 2 thus 
describes their conduct : " On Monday the 30th of 
April, the wicked French robbers, sparing neither 
churches nor cemeteries, came to St. Alban's. They 
spared the abbey except from supplying food and 
drink, because the abbot, on a former occasion, paid 
Louis eighty marks to save it. At the town of Eed- They purloin the 

* body of St. Am- 

bourn they pillaged the church of the body of St. pJ"ius. 
Amphibalus. They also dared to take the relics of 
the saints from above the high altar. One among 
them seized on a silver and gold ornamented cross, 
which contained a piece of our Lord's cross, and he 
hid it in his wicked bosom. Louis with his army 
arrived at Dunstable, 8 and there passed the night, 
and next day went on to Montsorel, where he raised 
the siege." From Montsorel an army of 600 knights 
and 20,000 Frenchmen under the Count of Perche 
made for Lincoln. According to their custom they 
pillaged all the churches and cemeteries on the march. 
Louis himself did not go to Lincoln, but "with a 
powerful host," says Matthew of Paris, 4 "he rode 

1 The relics of saints have always been regarded as the common 
property of the faithful. Hence they do not fall under the vow 
of poverty in religious orders, and, apart from their reliquaries, 
it has not been considered a sin to purloin them. On this principle 
St. Benedict's body was taken, it is said, from Monte Cassino in 
troublous days, and carried to Fleury on the Loire. The crusaders, 
no doubt with the laudable intention of rescuing what was holy from 
infidel hands, robbed saints' shrines without remorse and enriched 
the West with the bodies of the most illustrious saints of the East. 
The French in the middle ages were notorious relic-stealers. 

2 Bonn's edition, vol. ii. p. 385. 
8 In Bedfordshire. 

4 Rolls Series, ii. 655. 



mak^s for last towar ds the East coast, and miserably despoiled the 
EdSJid? 8t towns and villages of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk." 
The two former ravages by the Earl of Salisbury 
and by King John, just before his death, left the 
French prince very little spoil. The patrimony of 
St. Edmund, however, remained untouched, and both 
curiosity and devotion attracted him to the spot most 
memorable throughout the struggle. It is said that, 
warned by the example of the abbot of St. Alban's, 
Hugh of Northwold l saved his monastery and the 
shrine of the martyr by a bribe, but the Dauphin, 
fearful of the fate of the sacrilegious and filled 
with the traditional dread of St. Edmund's anger, 
had no intention of violating either. No scruple, 
however, withheld him from taking away the sacred 
body of the martyr himself. On the contrary, 
every motive urged him to it. The monks had 
returned among the first to their allegiance to John. 
They had always secretly favoured his cause. They 
now showed the deepest pity for his young son and 
successor. Why should he not punish them by 
exacting the relics of their patron as his price for 
sparing the abbey ? The nation, too, after inviting 
him to the kingdom and throne, had withdrawn its 
adherence. He had no hesitation in avenging him- 
self by taking away to France the most precious 
national treasure, the traditional protector of the 
people's rights. 
He abstracts the The monks, eighty only in number, were helpless 

martyr's body 

from the shrine, to resist save by protest. Probably none, or a few 
only, knew of the intended spoliation. The soldiery 
held the town at their mercy, so that the burgesses 
could make no defence even if they became aware 

1 Hugh became bishop of Ely. At the foot of his tomb in Ely 
cathedral is carved the history of St. Edmund, a sad and loving 
testimony to the loss which the abbey sustained under his reign 


of the robbery. Louis found it a comparatively easy 
task to raise the " crest," or slanting roof-like cover- 
ing, to take out a panel of the shrine and thus 
abstract the coffin, which as so much plunder his 
men carried out of the church without creating 
surprise. " Crest " and panel were carefully replaced, 
and the shrine left apparently as before. Not an 
offering to the saint was touched. 

Meanwhile William the earl marshal had defeated And carries it to 


the united army of Frenchmen and confederate barons 
and driven them from Lincoln. The Count of Perche 
fell in battle, and his followers fled. The English 
only pretended to pursue l and allowed them to 
make their way to London with their plunder, which 
included the body of St. Gilbert. Louis marched 
from St. Edmund's Bury to cover their retreat, and 
the joint armies gathered within the walls of London 
which received a second time the body of St. 
Edmund. Almost at once the treaty of Lambeth was 
negociated, and the grand marshal conducted the 
strangers out of the country. With them they 
carried into France much spoil and the relics of 
many saints, but of all their treasures they held 
none more precious than the body of St. Edmund 
the king and martyr. Little did they dream, how- 
ever, that they were fulfilling the prophecy of the 
widow of Rome by spreading devotion to his name 
far and wide. 

1 Roger of Wendover, Bohn's edit. 



[Authorities The learned Chanoine le Douais, Professeur u 1'ecole supi-rieure de 
Theologie de Toulouse, edited in 1880 the " Iiiventaire de Saint Sernin de 
Toulouse, 1489," (Paris : Picard, Rue Bonaparte), referred to by 
Caseneuve. This "Iiiventaire" contains the following passage: "Item in 
tribus vasis lapideis inannoris, unuin supra aliud, sunt corpora quatuor 
coronatoruni et Sancti Aymundi regis Anglhe quondam. Quorum in vase 
inferiore sunt corpora Clauclii et Nieostrati, in secundo vase sunt corpora 
Simphoriani et Castoris, et in superiore vase corpus dicti beati Aymundi." 
" Likewise in three marble sepulchres one above the other, lie the bodies of 
the four coronati and of St. Edmund formerly king of England. The lowest 
contains the bodies of Claudius and Nicostratus ; the second the bodies of 
Simphorian and Castor, the top one the body of the said blessed Edmund." 
A second "Iiiventaire," brought to light by the same learned canon and 
drawn up as early as 1240, names only the moveables and immoveables in the 
basilica, and therefore omits all mention of the body of St. Edmund or of any 
other saint. De la Faille's " Annales de Toulouse" contain no information 
on the subject. Rapin (Hist., edit. 1724, vol. i. p. 299) merely notices the 
finding of the body at Toulouse and no more. The cathedral of Seville 
possesses inexhaustible 5ISS. from which might probably be collected the full 
history of St. Edmund's translation to Toulouse, but they are unarranged, 
and the necessary search would take a life-time. The prefecture of Toulouse 
possesses many ancient maps, bulls and parchments taken from Saint- 
Sernin's, but Sir Antoine du Bourg, the highest authority on the history of 
the great basilica, in a letter on St. Edmund's relics to the author, says 
that in his researches lie has found no stronger evidence past or present than 
the records now in the archives of Saint-Serum itself, copies of which have 
been obtained for the compilation of the following sections.] 

st Edmund's With the scenes of the so-called reformation before 

body saved from . c . 

desecration. our eyes, the presence or bt. Edmund s body in 
France l is a subject of congratulation. Better far 

1 The French Tradition. Caseneuve in his "Vie de St. Edmond," 
speaks of the translation of the body of St. Edmund to France 
and its possession by the Church of Toulouse as follows : 

" The church of Saint- Sernin for many centuries has possessed 
the precious relics of the glorious martyr St. Edmund, precious 
even among those of so many apostles, martyrs, confessors, and 
virgins which have acquired for it the glory of being one of the 
most holy places on the earth. We understand that these relics of 
St. Edmund the king were presented to this venerable church by 
Louis VIII., the father of St. Louis. 

" Divine Providence, foreseeing that heresy would within a few 
centuries separate England from the unity of the Church, as 
nature has separated it from the rest of the world, deigned to save 
the bones of this illustrious martyr from the profanation to which 
those of so many other saints were exposed. 

** : t*t^tf*f? 

j * - .-rf-^fc,*..- .4 

ril i \ , \ , l!v TT\ T 7-TT ., i! 

W X 4 ; 


Basilica of Saint Sernin 



that his bones should be held in honour and respect 
in a foreign land, than be in his own, hidden away 
unknown and unworshipped, like St. Cuthbert's in 

"Louis VIII., having been elected king of England on the 
deposition of King John, nicknamed Lackland, was for some time 
engaged in war in that kingdom, and Matthew Paris states 
that his army pillaged all the churches of the county of Suffolk. 
Among them, as I have before remarked, was the abbey church 
in which rested the body of St. Edmund. In those days Christian 
soldiers gloried in committing the pious theft of taking away the 
relics of the saints and transporting them to their own country, 
and it was in consequence of this custom that we have acquired 
part of the relics formerly belonging to the churches of the Levant. 
It is probable that the French obtained the body of St. Edmund in 
this way, and Louis VIII., on coming to besiege the town of 
Toulouse a short time after his return from England (as everybody 
knows), presented the relics of St. Edmund to the church Saint- 
Sernin, where he lodged during the siege, it being at that time 
outside the walls. . . . 

" As a matter of fact the body of the martyr St. Edmund, king 
of England, is mentioned in the inventories of the relics of Saint- 
Sernin about 200 years ago, and, from the time when the army of 
Louis VIII. plundered the church of St. Edmund, the English 
chroniclers, who never lost an opportunity of signalising the 
miracles wrought by that saint in his own church, make no 
further mention of them, and by their silence, as I am convinced, 
tacitly allow that his body had been taken away and translated 
elsewhere." This statement is confirmed by the " Proces Verbal," 
1644 (Cahier G, Folio 70) of the Archives of Saint-Sernin ; by the 
" Propre de la Basilique Saint-Sernin," published in 1672 with 
three approbations; and by the "Proper" now used at Saint- 
Sernin for the feast of St. Edmund with the approval of the Holy 
See. Mr. Yates, an author thoroughly acquainted with monastic 
records, in his " History of Bury " admits the tradition, though he 
states it inaccurately. The " Monasticon " follows Caseneuve and 
Yates. Rapin in his History of England (edit. 1724, vol. i. p. 290), 
while unable to account for the presence of the body at 
Toulouse, acknowledges it in the following words : " Je ne sai par 
quelle avaniuie ce corps a e"te transport^ a Toulouse, oil on pretend 
i'avoir decouvert en 1667." "I know not by what accident this 
body (of St. Edmund) was translated to Toulouse, where it is 
alleged to have been discovered in 1667." (Correctly 1644). 

The following works contain no reference to the body of St. 


Durham, or cast to the winds like St. Thomas of 
Canterbury's, or left silent and cold, with no lighted 
taper or kneeling pilgrim to do them reverence, like 

Edmund: " Histoire Generate de Languedoc," &c., par Dom 
Claude de Vic et Dom Vaissete, O.S.B. ; "Hist. Generale de 
1'Eglise de Toulouse," &c., par M. 1'Abbe Salvan ; " Histoire des 
Institutions, &c., de Toulouse," par M. le Chevalier Du Mege ; 
" Hist, des Evgques et Archevdques de Toulouse," par M. 1'Abbe 
Cayre ; " Hist, de la ville de Toulouse," &c., par M, J. Raynal, 
1759 ; " Hist, des Comtesde Tolose," parM. Guillaume Catel, 1623 ; 
" Histoire Tolosaine," par Antoine Noguier Tolosain, 1559, which 
only goes to 1218. M. Raymond Dayde (Tolose, 1661), in his 
"Histoire de St.-Sernin, ou 1'incomparable tresor de son Eglise 
Abbatiale de Tolose," 1661, gives on p. 83, " Le corps et Teste de S. 
Edmond Roy d'Angleterre, Martyr." " Les Gestes des Tolosains 
et d'autres nations," &c., composees, &c., par Nicolas Bertrand 
(Tolose. 1555), contains in the list of the bodies of saints : "Item.le 
corps de Sainct Aymod cofesseur du Roy d' Angleterre, item 
le corps de Sainct Gilbert, Abbe." 

The evidence in support of the Toulouse tradition is to most minds 
conclusive. First, the whole history of the period between 1205 
and 1219 accords with it. The prominence of St. Edmund's Bury 
in the dispute ; the friendly feeling which always existed between 
John and the monks ; their known sympathy for his son, marked 
the abbey as a fit object of spoil. Matthew Paris' testimony as 
to the pillage of the churches of Norfolk and Suffolk, and Roger of 
Wendover's as to the practice of the French soldiery of stealing 
the bodies and relics of saints, a practice extensively carried on 
in the East, amount to all but a definite statement that they 
purloined St. Edmund's body. The date of Louis' quitting 
England and his sojourn in the abbey Saint-Sernin, and the fame 
of that basilica as a sanctuary for relics perfectly fit in with the 
received tradition. Secondly, the ancient inventories mentioned 
by Caseneuve, and especially the one of 1489 which is still extant, 
are proof positive of the authenticity of the Toulouse relics. 
Probably the latter inventory was a copy of an earlier one. In 
any case the body of St. Edmund must have been in the crypt 
before the inventory was made. Thirdly, the chain of evidence 
from 1489 is unbroken : the inscription on the stone sepulchre ; the 
cessation of the plague in 1631 ; the translation of the relics in 
1644 ; the authentication in 1807 ; the opening of the shrine by 
Cardinal Desprez in 1867, bring us to our own times. Fourthly, the 
silence meanwhile of the chronicles and registers of St. Edmund's 


St. Edward's in the now uncatholic and desolate 
sanctuary of Westminster. 

Little more than a year had elapsed after the 

abbey strongly argues that the body was not there. From the 
saint's martyrdom to 1198 no period of one hundred years elapsed 
without some verification or translation of the incorrupt body being 
chronicled, but, although according to the " Monasticon " the exist- 
ing chartularies of St. Edmund's Abbey are probably more numerous 
than those of any other in England, all researches up to the 
present have failed to discover any record of the martyr's body 
having been seen or moved from Abbot Samson's time to the 
dissolution of the monastery in 1539, a period of 341 years. At 
the dissolution Cromwell's commissioners found the body absent, 
as we may judge by their silence concerning it in the following 
extracts from their letters, the originals of which are preserved 
in the Cottonian Library (see Dugdale's "Mon.," Nums. xliv. xlv. 
under St. Edmundsbury). The first is signed 
John Williams. 
Richard Pollard. 
Phylyp Parys. 
John Smyth, 
and reads : 

"Pleaseth it your Lordship to be advertised that we have been 
at Saynt Edmondsbury, where we found a riche shryne which 
was very comberous to deface. We have taken in the seyd 
monastery in golde and silver 5000 markes and above, besyds as 
well a riche crosse with emeralds, as also dyvers and sundry stones 
of grete value," &c., &c. 

The second is from a letter by John ap Rice: "Amongst the 
relics we founde moche vanitie and supersticion, as the coles that 
S. Lawrence was tested withal, the parings of St. Edmund's 
naylls," &c. Weever likewise in his enumeration of the relics of the 
abbey church observes absolute silence with regard to St. Edmund's 
body. This two-fold negative evidence proves that it was not at St 
Edmund's Bury at the time of the dissolution. 

Fifthly, a story in the "Registrum Rubrum " and an extract 
from an old MS. positively imply the absence of the body. 
The story of the monk's dream is given in the "Registrum 
Rubrum" as occurring in Abbot Bernham's time (1335- 
1361). A certain monk dreamt that he saw St. Edmund 
leave his shrine and then return to it. The story itself 
is of trifling consequence, but the conclusion drawn from it by 
the monk is not so. He was terrified for fear of a speedy fulfilment 


Louis the removal of St. Edmund's body from its English shrine 

Dauphin at 

Toulouse. when political events called Louis the Dauphin to the 
south of France. For a long time the fanatical and 

of an old prophecy that St. Edmund, after returning to 
Beodricsworth a third time, would abandon it for Hoxne. " Post 
quam tertio Beatus Edmundus cornu suurn flaverit, relinquens 
Boedericsworth rediret ad Hoxne." "After Blessed Edmund 
shall thrice have blown his horn, leaving Bury he will return to 
Hoxne. " The monks evidently knew the prophecy and its reference 
to a third return of St. Edmund to Bury, where it is implied he 
was not then. St. Edmund first entered Bury in 903, and a 
second time, when Aihvin brought the holy body back from 
London in 1013. Both entrances were celebrated by a concourse 
of people and with great pomp, or in other words, " with sound of 
trumpet." But a third blowing of trumpets was expected, that is, 
a triumphant return from Toulouse, where his body in the time of 
Abbot Bernham had rested for 114 years. 

In the quotation in the " Monasticon " (vol. iii. p. 135) from a MS. 
of a date say not earlier than Abbot Curteys' time (1429-1446), the 
words " incorruptum ipsius corpus requiescit humatum " "his 
body rests entombed without decay," can only indicate the stone 
sepulchre at Toulouse, for the word " humatum" would never be 
used of the shrine at St. Edmund's Bury. In fact, considering 
that in 1400 Abbot Cratfield took 30 from the shrine to defray 
the expenses of his papal election, a few, at least, knew, forty 
years before, that St. Edmund's body was not there. 

Sixthly and lastly, the verification of the relics at Toulouse con- 
firms all previous evidence. When the body was authenticated, the 
flesh had indeed decayed, but the bones of the entire skeleton re- 
mained, except one, viz., the radius, a bone of the fore-arm. Now 
this bone is the only relic of St. Edmund's body which the later 
records of his abbey mention. It was preserved by the monks 
and publicly venerated, notably at the visit of Henry VI. to the 
abbey in 1433. Its recorded and unchallenged existence in 
England establishes the authenticity of the rest of the body in 

It is objected that in the first place the diplomas of aggregation 
and other documents refer to the presence of the body, although 
there is no actual record of it. The Benedictines from the time of 
the holy Patriarch St. Benedict have had the practice of giving the 
habit, with letters of aggregation or fraternity, to distinguished 
benefactors lay and cleric, and thus admitting them to the order 
and to a community of prayers. For instance, John Duke of 


immoral sect of the Albigenses had agitated that 
portion of the kingdom, and their violent atti- 
tude now actually threatened its dismemberment. 

Lancaster in 1392 and the Earl of March and Ulster in 1415 were 
so received. The diplomas or forms in use at St. Edmund's Bury 
for affiliating members to the order still exist. In one of the time 
of Abbot Curteys the letter of fraternity accorded to William 
Paston contains the following words: "For the devotion which 
you have to God and to our monastery, in which the most glorious 
king and martyr St. Edmund reposes in the body and without 
decay, we receive you," etc. (Yates, p. 157). This evidence 
would be very strong did it not rest merely on the wording of an 
old formula which was probably retained unchanged after 1219 on 
account of its antiquity. 

In Pat. 41, Henry III. (A.I). 1257), a charter granting custody of 
the barony of the abbot of St. Edmund, occur the words : "Cujus 
corpus requiescit ibidem " " ivhose body rests in the same place." 
(" Monasticon," vol. iii. p. 160). 

Again (ibid. p. 162) we read the directions regarding the tapers 
to be burnt on St. Edmund's feast "circa corpus'' "round his 
body." 1 ' No doubt phrases like these were used in isolated cases 
from custom or by an individual ignorant of the actual fact. 

In "Bury Wills and Inventories," Caxton Publ., p. 13, vol. 49, 
occurs the bequest : " Item lego feretro Sti Edmundi monile 
aureum cum figura cerui ipssima," by which Lady Sharedelowe 
(A.D. 1457) bequeaths to the shrine of St. Edmund a golden 
necklace with its valuable pendant of lapis-lazuli, but no deduction 
can be drawn from this except that the testatrix knew not of the 
absence of the body, or probably knowing it, willed to honour the 
place in which it had lain. 

Referring to Ailwin's return to St. Edmondsbury, Richard of 
Cirencester writes (A.D. 1337): " Then with the greatest honour 
he [St. Edmund] is laid in his old resting place, Bury-St. -Edmund's, 
where by the favour of God even to this day he ceases not to plead 
the cause of those who devoutly seek him." Here mention is 
distinctly made of the " power of St. Edmund's intercession at St. 
Edmund's Bury " even " to this day ; " but the fact of the body 
being there is markedly omitted, so that the passage rather favours 
the French tradition than militates against it. 

Secondly, pilgrimages and evon royal visits continued to be 
made to the shrine during the whole period of the supposed 
absence of St. Edmund's body. Thus King Henry III., Edward L 
and Queen Eleanor, Edward II., Edward III., Richard II. and 


Prince Louis hastened southwards to quell the rebel- 
lion and particularly to dislodge the enemy from 
Toulouse. He carried with him the relics of many 

Henry VI. paid their devotions at the shrine. Lydgate's magnifi- 
cent manuscript ^depicts the last-named king kneeling before the 
shrine. Was not the body there ? The pilgrimages continued 
until the dissolution, and at the close of the last century Cook 
Row (now Abbey-gate-street), where the pilgrims used to take 
their meals, still retained signs of its original character. Did the 
nation worship at an empty shrine ? 

It is answered that the absence of the body would not affect the 
devotion of the people to St. Edmund. That devotion had become 
ingrafted in the habits of the nation. The pilgrimage was so 
ancient and traditional, the shrine itself so renowned, the venerable 
abbey-church so full of memorials of the saint and of the shrines of 
other servants of God, that the custom of journeying to St. 
Edmund's Bury continued unchanged. In a similar manner 
Hoxne was a favourite pilgrimage for centuries after St. Edmund's 
body was removed from it, just as Becket's Crown, Durham 
Cathedral, Lindisfarne or lona now-a-days, although the bones of 
their saints are gone. A higher example is the sepulchre of our 
Lord, or the spot where the cross was found, for Catholic devotion 
honours not only the holy but the spots hallowed by the holy. 

Thirdly, the decay of the body found at Toulouse seems to tell 
against the French tradition. St. Edmund's was one of the five 
well-known incorrupt bodies of Catholic England. " There are 
altogether five which I have known of," writes Malmesbury, 
"though the residents in many places boast of more; Saints 
Etheldreda and Werburga, virgins ; King Edmund ; Archbishop 
Elphege ; Cuthbert the ancient father ; these with skin and flesh 
unwasted and their joints flexile appear to have a certain vital 
warmth about them and to be merely sleeping. " In our own day 
St. Catherine at Bologna, St. John of Prague in Bohemia, St. 
Zita at Lucca, St. Teresa at Avignon, St. Francis Xavier at 
Goa, and nearer home the hand of Father Arrowsmith, are 
instances of incorruption similar to St. Edmund's. In the 
year 1193, three hundred and twenty-eight years after the 
royal martyr's death, Abbot Samson found the body perfect and 
undecayed. That is an incontestable fact. Abbot Samson's 
" robust and upright character " would not have stooped to decep- 
tion. Honest Jocelin wrote of what he saw without suspicion of 
imposture. Mr. Rokewood, the editor of the Latin text of 
Jocelin's Chronicle, and blunt Carlyle, who read it and wrote 


saints, and notably the bodies of St. Edmund and St. 
Gilbert, that through their intercession the God of 
armies might bless his enterprise. On arriving 

of it with undisguised admiration, believed the historical evidence 
before them. Only the translator of Jocelin's Chronicle, a certain 
Mr. Tomkins, with au impudent curtness and without producing 
any evidence to support his case, denies probability, possibility and 
continuous tradition, gives the lie direct to abbot, chronicler, editor 
and commentator, and peremptorily asserts : " There is not the 
slightest doubt but that this body was a supposititious corpse and 
perhaps not the first " (p. 47, note). 

The difficulty however still remains. When the archbishop of 
Toulouse, Charles de Montchal, opened the stone sepulchre upon 
which St. Edmund the martyr's name was inscribed, he found a 
skeleton only. The possession of the radius or arm-bone at old 
St. Edmund's Bury points to the decay taking place years before 
the dissolution, but not even Caseneuve attempts to explain 
it. The incorruption of the soulless body is, however, only 
an extraordinary manifestation of the Divine Wisdom and 
Omnipotence, and like other miracles its continuance or cessa- 
tion surpasses human calculation. But who can say that the 
decay of St. Edmund's body is not a lesser evil than its total 
destruction, or that there is not a certain congruity in its being 
deprived of its prerogative of incorruption at a time when it was 
deprived of its honour by being taken to a strange country and laid 
in a neglected tomb ? Again, if Mr. Raine's contention is true, and 
the skeleton which he discovered in May, 1827, in Durham cathedral 
was St. Cuthbert's and not that of Bishop Frithestan or some 
other bishop, then we have another instance of an undoubtedly 
incorrupt body decaying. Could the bodies of St. Etheldreda or 
Archbishop Elphege be exhumed, perhaps further light might be 
thrown upon this question. The hand of St. Etheldreda, which 
is reverently preserved at St. Dominic's Convent, Stone, Staffs., is 
still incorrupt, but the flesh is gradually perishing. Nature is 
thus allowed by Divine Providence to reassert itself. St. Edmund's 
body, preserved at Bury with care and reverence, likewise re- 
mained incorrupt for the glory of the saint and the edification of 
the faithful, and yet was afterwards allowed to crumble to dust 
after exposure to a long march over rough roads, in a rumbling 
thirteenth century military waggon, and after years of compara- 
tive neglect, for its incorruption was no longer necessary for its 
special glory and renown, since there were no more pilgrims as 
of old, and no longer a nation's reverence and homage. 


before the gates of Toulouse he took up his quarters 
in the cloisters of the basilica of Saint Satuminus, 
siifcaof Saint- or Semin, which at that time stood outside the walls, 
and the body of St. Edmund was placed for the 
time being within its sacred precincts. 

The basilica which thus providentially received St. 
Edmund's remains was renowned throughout Christen- 
dom for its treasures and antiquity. From the earliest 
times it has enjoyed the name and rights of a 
basilica. Two early bishops of Toulouse, St. Sylvus 
and St. Exuperus, erected it in the fourth century 
to receive the body of the martyred prelate St. 
Saturninus. It was rebuilt in the eleventh century 
in the full majesty of the Eoman style, with a vast- 
ness of conception and a simplicity of detail which 
inspires a feeling rather of awe than of admiration. 
Pope Urban II. consecrated it in 1096. Its abbots, 
who presided over a chapter of Augustinian canons, 
became by royal decree the hereditary protectors of 
the university of Toulouse and ranked amongst the 
highest prelates of the land. In the war with the 
Albigenses they often stepped in as mediators 
between the two parties. By their permission 
" Count Piaymund VI. held the common assembly 
of citizens of Toulouse within the impregnable 
basilica, at the foot of whose walls the redoubt- 
able Simon de Montfort was slain on June the 
25th, 1218. 

The basilica was still more famous for its numerous 

Its treasury of 

relics. relics of saints. Over its portals stands the inscrip- 

tion : " Non est in toto sanctior orbe locus " " There 
is no spot more holy in the whole earth," for it is 
the third richest church in the world for relics. 
Two holy bishops raised it over the grave of their 
predecessor. Afterwards Charlemagne, desiring to 
repair the injury which he had inflicted by the 


temporary removal of the body of St. Saturninus, 
promised to give it a court as numerous and as illus- 
trious as that of St. Denis at Paris. He kept his 
promise, and the basilica received the bodies of six 
apostles which Pope Leo III. had presented to him. 
On an old tapestry which represents this benefaction 
a distich runs as follows : 

"Sex vexit hoec rediens Hispanis magnus ab oris 
Carlus apostolic! corpora sancta gregis. " 1 

In the course of ages the crusaders from the town 
further enriched the great church with the bodies 
and relics of saints brought from the East, and popes 
and kings vied with each other in adding to its 
treasury, till the bones of sixty saints seemed to 
satisfy even the proverbial love of the Toulousians 
for pious relics. 

Prince Louis, emulous of Charlemagne, and grateful It receives 
to the canons for their hospitality and prayers, now st? Edmund. 
offered to the basilica the bodies of St. Edmund and 
St. Gilbert. He knew no church more worthy by 
its sanctity and age to receive the body of the royal 
martyr or to replace the stately abbey church from 
which he had taken it. Accordingly the Augustinians 
laid St. Edmund to rest in the crypt beneath the great 
basilica where Pope St. Urban had preached the first 
crusade and St. Bernard the second, under the vaulted 
roof which was ringing with the burning words of St. 
Dominic, in the company of the apostles, near St. 
Agatha and St. Lucy, to be numbered in future 
with the martyrs St. Stephen and St. George, St. 
Blasius and St. Christopher, in the calendar of Saint- 

1 "Charles the Great, returning from the borders of Spain, 
brought hither these sacred relics, six bodies of the Apostolic 


The crypt of The crypt which received the English martyr was 

Saint-Sernin. J * J . 

rich in the bodies of saints, but they were hidden 
away in unrecognised tombs. The invasions of the 
Vandals, of the Alans, Sueves and Visigoths pre- 
vented the exhuming of the bodies in the early 
centuries, so that even the remains of St. Saturninus 
and the precious relics brought thither by Charle- 
magne lay buried for generations, marked indeed 
with their names, but so hastily put away that only 
the tradition of their presence remained. The Albi- 

A.D. 1208. gensian troubles caused St. Edmund's body to be 
treated in a similar manner. Forty years later, how- 
ever, the crypt of the basilica became too small to 
contain all the relics of saints which had accumu- 
lated in the course of centuries, and the canons 
commenced the present crypt. As the work pro- 
ceeded, they searched for, exhumed and translated 
the sacred bodies, in some instances enshrining them 
in jewelled reliquaries of gold or silver, 1 in others 
merely verifying the bodies, and then placing them 
in sepulchres of stone or marble. They seem to have 

st. Edmund's taken this latter course with the body of our saint, for 

' according to the inventory of 1489 the body of 

"Saint Edmund once king of England" rested in a 

1 Thus on the 6th of September, 1258, the body of St. Satur- 
ninus was searched for and found in the vault in which St. 
Exuperus had placed it. It was removed tomb and all to the 
spot in the east apse where the marble shrine now canopies it. 
About the same time the bodies of SS. Sylvus, Hilary and 
Honoratus were merely exhumed. In 1386 the relics of St. 
James the Greater were translated to a rich reliquary. Those of 
St. Jude and St. Susanna of Babylon were exhumed on the 25th 
of January, 1511 ; those of St. Papoul, St. Philip, St. James the 
Less, and St. Gilbert of Sempringham on the 24th of March, 
1507 ; those of St. Exuperus on the 13th of April, 1586, and those 
of St. Barnabas, St. Edmund, and St. Raymond of Toulouse in 
1607, 1644, and 1656. By the end of the 17th century all the 
relics had been thus translated and enshrined. 


plain marble tomb, the uppermost of three, all similar 
in character, the lowest of which contained the bones 
of SS. Claudius and Nicostratus, and the second those 
of SS. Simphorian and Castor. 


[Authorities The archives of Saint-Sernin, Toulouse contain Cahier G, folio 70 
the " Proces Verbal (A.D. 1644) sur 1'elevation du corps et saints relifiues du 
glorieux Saint Edmoncl martyr Roi d'Angleterre," etc., which incidentally 
relers to a ninth translation or removal of St. Edmund's relics between 1489 
and 1644. For the contemporary history of the great church see the " Mono- 
graphic de la Basilique Saint-Sernin de Toulouse," par S. Manaut ; Toulouse : 
Imprimerie Vialelle et Cie., 1879.] 

The enlargement of the crypt of Saint-Sernin and st . Edmund's 
the gradual exhuming and translating of the bodies aTs 
of the saints made room for the more reverent keep- 
ing of St. Edmund's remains. Accordingly they were 
removed before the seventeenth century into a small 
arched and vaulted recess, in the west corner of which 
the sarcophagus was erected and covered with a large 
stone like an altar-stone. On the front of this tomb 
an inscription was cut in big thick letters which 
ran thus 


1 " Here reposes the venerable body of Saint Edmund King of 


TOULOUSE, A.D. 1644. 

[Auiliorities A paper from the archives of Saint-Sernin on the "Translations de 
cesReliques" in Nov., 1644, supplements the authorities referred to in the 
last section and gives a full description of this gorgeous and solemn ceremony 
connected with St. Edmund's memory. The late Father Lazenby, S.J., of 
Bury-St. -Edmund's, kindly supplied copies of the " Proces Verbal " and of the 
"Translation de ces Reliqnes" for, this work, which he obtained through the 
kindness of the late Father Ramiere, S. J. Further details may be gathered from 
a small volume entitled "L'elevation des reliques du glorieux martyr Saint 
Edmond roy d'Angleterre, etc., etc., .... faite par messire Charles de 
Montchal nrchevesque de Toulouse, . . . pour 1'accomplissement d'un 
vceu de ladite ville. Ensemble 1'extrait des sermons du dit archevesque et de 
Mgr. 1'evesque de S. Papoul." Toulouse, 1C45, 4to. The " Livre de prieres 
a 1'usage de ceux qui out la devotion de visiter les sacrees reliques dans 
1'insigne Basilique de Saint-Sernin, &c.," printed in 1762, gives an engraving, on 
p. 7 of the preface, representing the altar on which St. Edmund's body rested 
during the octave of the translation, and, on p. 82, an account of their transla- 
tion itself. See also the small brochure, " Les Corps Saints de 1'insigne Basili- 
que Saint-Saturnin de Toulouse ," Toulouse : Imprimerie Saint-Cyprien, 1881.]' 

During the four years 162S,-29,-30,-31, the justice 

The plague at J J 

Toulouse in 1631. an( j merc y O f God afflicted the city of Toulouse with 
a plague which raged so virulently that the streets 
of the large and populous city soon became silent 
and forsaken and the majority of the houses unin- 
habited. All those human succours which proved 
efficacious on former occasion failed on this, and 
the people in despair looked about for some Moses 
to stand between them and the anger of God. They 
had ever regarded the relics of the saints treasured 
up in their great basilica as pledges of God's favour. 
Carried in procession through the streets, they had 
more than once stayed the avenging Hand. The 
Toulousians now determined to appeal to the Al- 
mighty in the name of His servant Edmund to help 
them, as He had helped the people of old for the 
sake of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. 


For this end the capitouls or consuls l of Toulouse, ^ vow of w 

' Toulousians to 

on the 12th of August, 1631, publicly vowed in the i 
name of the people to bring forth St. Edmund's body 
from the obscurity in which it had lain for years 
and, at the expense of the town, to present for its 
enshrinement a silver reliquary richly enchased, as a 
memorial to posterity of the cessation of the plague, 
for which they petitioned through the intercession 
of the blessed king and martyr of England. The 
plague suddenly ceased its ravages, the saint renewing 
in a strange land the miracles discontinued in his 
own. Thus it pleased God to glorify once more his 
royal champion. 

For thirteen years the desolation and poverty of 
the town delayed the fulfilment of the citizens' vow. 
In 1644, however, the lord abbot of Saint-Sernin, 
Monseigneur Defiat, authorised his vicar-general, John 
Jerome Duthil, to call the attention of the chapter 
as well as of the principal citizens to the subject 
of the vow. On the 22nd of April the canons of Apnl 22> 
the basilica unanimously resolved on the translation. 

They undertook to make the ceremony as solemn 
and imposing as possible, and one of their number, 
Pierre de Caseneuve, wrote a life of the saint in 
preparation for it. On the 10th of July the canons Jiy 10. 
invited the archbishop of Toulouse, Monseigneur 
Charles de Montchal, to preside at the translation, 
saving the rights of their abbot. The archbishop 
consented, and a document with the saving clause 
inserted was drawn up and signed. His Grace further 
arranged to enter upon the examination of the martyr's 
relics after vespers on the following Saturday, July 
the 16th. The register in the archives of Saint- 
Sernin describes the opening of the tomb as follows ; 

1 A title held by the magistrates of Toulouse, and a remini- 
scence of the connection of their city with ancient Rome. 



The opening of "When the said 16th day of the above-mentioned 

St. Edmund's . . . , 

tomb, July 16. month of July arrived in the year one thousand six 
hundred and forty-four, the above-mentioned chapter 
deputed two canons, Monsieur de Mervilla and Mon- 
sieur de Parade, to attend upon the archbishop in 
his archiepiscopal palace and to conduct him to our 
church. On his approach, Messieurs the Canons 
d'Armaing and de Cambolas de Touzin and de Lassur 
offered him holy water at the door of the basilica 
and led him to the sacristy of the Holy Bodies. 
There we found assembled M. Jean de Bertier, lord 
of Montrabe, the king's councillor and first president 
of the Toulouse parliament; M. Jacques de Maussac, 
councillor and dean of the said parliament ; M. Jean 
George de Caulis, king's councillor and chief judge 
in the seneschal's court at Toulouse; MM. Antoine 
de 1'Aquavigne, George Falaire, barristers ; Jean 
Virazil, Valive Toule, Eollaund Eaure and d'Oubiea, 
citizens of Toulouse, and capitouls for the current 
year ; M. Bartholomew Sixte, priest and sacristan of 
the Holy Bodies, together with the regent-treasurers 
and officials entrusted with the care of the Holy 

" Word was given to the sacristan to lead the way 
to the place in which the body of blessed Edmund, 
king of England, rested. 

"Descending into the crypt of the said Holy 
Bodies, we proceeded to conduct his Grace the arch- 
bishop to a small arched and vaulted recess, in the 
west corner of which stood a sarcophagus covered 
with a large stone like an altar-stone. On the front 
of this tomb an inscription in big thick letters ran 
thus : 



I " For the opening of the tomb, William Bagilet, 

custodian of the Holy Bodies, now presented a hammer 
decked with flowers, which we handed to the arch- 
bishop, requesting him in the name of our lord abbot 
De*fiat and of the venerable chapter of the basilica, 
to deign to proceed with the authentication. Then 
his Grace, taking the hammer, struck the stone 
three different times ; whereupon, by our orders, the 
masons set to work to open the tomb. 

" Under an archway let into the wall on the other 
side of the same recess, we now took the opportunity 
of pointing out to the archbishop the two stone 
sepulchres containing the bodies of SS. Claudius, 
Nicostratus and others. 

" By this time the masons had raised the stone The verification 

of the martyr's 

slab which covered St. Edmund's tomb. At once relics - 
Messieurs the Canons Doberal, Mervilla and de Parade 
placed themselves near the coffin, so as to prevent 
any one touching the holy relics. The opened tomb 
disclosed a quantity of bones and topmost a human 
skull. We called to our aid Sieur Andre Lubio, chief 
surgeon of Toulouse, and requested him to make a list 
of the bones in order to insert it in this document." 
Here follows the catalogue of bones, each techni- 
cally named. None were missing, 1 except the small 
bone of the fore-arm which St. Edmund's own abbey 
had preserved. Each bone was reverently taken 
from the stone coffin, classified and then carefully 
placed in a wooden chest, which was lined inside 
and out with yellow satin. The chest was finally 

1 The catalogue of bones contained in the "Proces Verbal," 
having been submitted to an M.D. and Fellow of the Royal 
College of Surgeons, Edin., s reported to contain all those bones 
which constitute the skeleton except the radius, a bone of the 
forearm. The skull, however, contained only seven teeth in the 
lower jaw and three in the upper. For the question of the decay 
of the sacred body see note, p. 234. 


locked up in the safe of the relic of the Holy 
Thorn, which an iron grating fastened with a padlock 
made doubly secure. The archbishop put his seal on 
the padlock ; the key was taken away, and so ended 
the first part of the ceremony of the royal martyr's 
tenth translation. l 
The preparation The final solemnities were appointed to take place 

for the great 

ceremony. in connection with St. Edmund's feast in the Novem- 
ber following. The register of Saint-Sernin relates 
with almost wearisome minuteness the preparations 

Oct. 17. for the occasion. On October the 17th, the greater 

number of the shrines of the basilica were cleaned 
and got in order. On the 25th, " according to ancient 
custom," certain canons in the name of the lord abbot 
and of the chapter invited the city-parliament to 
attend, and the president answered that all the mem- 
bers would be present in their scarlet robes to add 
what solemnity they could to the occasion. About 
the same time criers proclaimed the coming event 
in the neighbouring villages. 

in the interior of In the basilica itself the noise of hammer and saw 
told of more material preparations. In the midst of 
the nave a lofty flight of steps covered with carpet 
mounted to a wooden platform, on which three altars 
were erected to receive the shrines of St. Edmund 
and of the other saints. Rich hangings covered the 
long double line of columns on each side of the 
basilica. Afar off at the end of the vista of columns, 
and under the great chancel arch, in front of which 
lay the choir, stood the high altar with a reredos of 
inestimable value, consisting of the shrines and re- 
liquaries of the church each with its halo of tapers, 
and arranged in storeys which reached from floor to 

1 The verification of the five bodies of martyrs which lay near 
to St. Edmund's tomb was deferred to the following Monday, 
July 18. 


roof. The workmen had removed the choir-screen, in 
order that all might see the relics. The archbishop's 
throne stood on one side, and on the other were 
arranged seats for the assistant bishops. In the 
aisles at the side of the choir the carpenters 
built a temporary gallery for a full band. All 
these preparations were complete by Saturday, Novem- 
ber the 12th. 

On that day the archbishop descended into the The commence- 
ment of the cere- 
Crypt in order to bring to the upper church the mony, November 

bodies of the saints. He wore his pontifical robes ; 
the archiepiscopal cross and the crozier were borne 
before him, it being provised that this should be 
done without prejudice to the immunities or privileges 
of the basilica and its canons a proviso which recalls 
similar precautions in St. Edmund's abbey in England. 
The canons of Saint-Sernin attended the archbishop. 
In the dull eventide, about four o'clock, the proces- 
sion wended its way through the passages of the 
dimly lighted crypt. The first and second presidents 
and the members of the Toulouse parliament ; the 
municipal authorities in their red robes ; the seventy- 
two custodians of the bodies of the saints and their 
assistants, and a crowd of other distinguished citi- 
zens followed in the procession. All carried lighted 
tapers. The prelate incensed the relics, then paused 
for a few moments in prayer. Next two canons took 
up the chest containing the relics of SS. Claudius 
and Nicostratus, and two others that containing the 
bones of SS. Simplex, Symphorian and Castor, in 
order to carry them to the church. Lastly, the vicar- 
general and Canon de Foudeyre raised to their 
shoulders the coffin enclosing the body of St. Edmund 
and carried it in the procession under a canopy sup- 
ported by the mayor and three senators. The bearers 
deposited the three chests on the altars in the nave 


of the basilica each near its silver shrine. The arch- 
bishop again incensed the relics and prayed in 
silence ; then he descended the platform to officiate 
at solemn vespers. Outside in the streets and squares 
the citizens lighted bonfires and illuminated the 
windows of their houses with torches. 
The tenth trans- Next day at eight o'clock in the morning the 

lation of St. 

Edmund's relics, archbishop returned to the basilica to sing the solemn 

Sunday, Nov. 13, 

1644> mass and preside at the translation of St. Edmund's 

body and of the bodies of the other holy martyrs. 
The church presented a scene of unusual magnifi- 
cence. The background of glittering shrines and 
lights closed the vista of the tapestried lines of pillars. 

The brilliant Around the altar the archbishop on his throne 


and his eight mitred brethren, the assistant priests 
and deacons and the other sacred ministers were 
grouped, while the robed canons and the privileged 
doctors of the university filled the rest of the 
sanctuary. In the choir the members of the Toulouse 
parliament had assembled in their red robes ; and 
also the treasurers of France, the city magistrates, 
proud of their imperial title, and the mayor and 
aldermen. The various trades of the city filled the 
nave between the choir and the platform of the relics. 
The platform itself with its three altars rose gloriously 
above the heads of the crowd in the centre of the 
church and displayed the coffins and shrines of the 
newly exhumed relics and the vicar-general and two 
canons religiously guarding them, while, upon the steps, 
the custodians, superintendents, treasurers, and officers 
of the Holy Bodies stood with lighted white tapers in 
their hands. An immense multitude of people crowded 
the nave and double aisles. Never had the old city 
seen so joyous and magnificent a pageant ; never had 
there been a more glorious translation of St. 
Edmund's relics, even in his old abbey-church. 


After the gospel the archbishop ascended a pulpit The archbishop 
which stood opposite the platform of the relics, and pr 
preached on the virtues of East Anglia's king and 
martyr, 1 as Bishop Wakelin had done on a similar 
occasion six hundred years before. The mass over, 
vested in cope, he ascends the platform of the relics 
accompanied by the members of the chapter. He 
incenses the relics and blesses the silver shrines. 
The vicar-general opens the wooden chests, and, taking 
out the bones one by one, presents them to the arch- 
bishop, who, showing each in turn to the people, 
places them with religious care in their silver shrines. 
" Meanwhile," says the register, " the band of musi- 
cians continued to stir up devotion in the hearts of 
the audience, and salvoes of artillery proclaimed far 
and wide the piety and religious joy of the inhabi- 
tants." At the end of the ceremony the archbishop 
retired, to return later for the solemn vespers. 

For a whole week the relics of St. Edmund and The pilgrimages 

to St. Edmund. 

of the other holy martyrs remained exposed for 
the veneration of the faithful. Every two hours the 
vicar-general presented those of St. Edmund to the 
people to kiss, and two canons presented those of the 
other saints. Every day processions, each headed by 
its priests, nocked in from the neighbouring parishes. 
The pious associations of the city and of the towns 
in the vicinity also came, each in its turn, so that 
fifty pilgrimages were made to the basilica during 
the week, and God blessed the faith of the people 
by numerous miracles. 
The solemnities on the festival itself surpassed if The feast of 

St. Edmund, 

possible those of the first day of the translation. On NOV. 20 
Sunday, the 20th of November, the 744th anniver- 
sary of St. Edmund's martyrdom, by proclamation 

1 This sermon, as well as one preached a few days later by the 
bishop of Papoul, was printed in 1645 in a 4 to volume. 


The gorgeous of parliament a procession passed through the streets 

procession. , . ... ., , .-.. 

of the city. Starting from the basilica, it wended its 
way to the cathedral of St. Stephen, to conduct 
thence the Blessed Sacrament. All the relics of the 
basilica were carried in this procession, some by 
religious in their various habits, others by craft- 
guilds decorated with their distinctive badges. 
Canopy after canopy, forty-two in number, prepared 
with rival magnificence by the various trades, were 
borne over the shrines. The heads of the five 
martyrs SS. Symphorian, Castor, Claudius, Mcostra- 
tus and Simplex, surrounded by surpliced priests 
and master-tradesmen, were followed respectively 
by the shrines which enclosed their sacred 
crowned by st. Last of all in the procession the principal group 

Edmund's relics. . . 

came, made up or the highest dignitaries or church 
and city, who attended that day to do honour to St. 
Edmund the king. First amongst them the manda- 
tory of the holy relics walked, in his robes of purple 
cloth and red taffety with head-piece of red velvet 
and the emblem of the Holy Ghost suspended from 
his neck. The custodians of the holy relics of the 
basilica, carrying lighted tapers and engravings of 
St. Edmund, next led the way before four priests, 

The royal w h carried upon their shoulders the head of the 
royal martyr under a canopy trimmed with cloth of 
silver and covered with embroidered gold and silver 
crowns to represent royalty and martyrdom. The 

ms shrine. venerable chapter of the basilica followed, carrying 
in their midst, on a portable stand hung with crim- 
son, the shrine in which rested the bones of the 
martyr-king of England. 1 Four magistrates of the 

1 It is worthy of remark that Pierre de Caseneuve, St. Edmund's 
French biographer, was one of the four canons who carried the 
royal martyr's shrine. 


city held over it a rich canopy, and the treasurers 
past and present of the holy relics, holding lighted 
tapers, formed a body-guard on each side. The vicar- 
general with his master of ceremonies, the sacristan 
of the crypt and the confessor of the pilgrims closed 
the procession. Thus the citizens of Toulouse bore 
St. Edmund through their streets to the cathedral 

They passed along the Eues du Tour, de Senechal, The route of the 


Rivals and the Square de Capitole to the church 
of St. Antony, where they paused awhile before pro- 
ceeding by the Rue de la Pomme and Rue Boulbonne 
to the cathedral, at the western door of which the 
greater and more honourable procession of the Blessed 
Sacrament awaited them. 

The archbishop held aloft the sacred Host under The procession 

of the Blessed 

a canopy of cloth of silver ; the cathedral chapter sacrament. 
stood around, as also the magistrates and officials of 
the city according to their rank ; the parliament of 
Toulouse headed by its two presidents ; and the king's 
lieutenant, the viceroy of Languedoc. The procession 
thus completed returned through the gaily decked streets, 
in the midst of music and singing, to the church of St. 
Antony and thence to the great basilica. The bishop The sermon by 

r the bishop of 

of Saint-Papoul preached, vespers was chanted, and, st.-Papoui. 
when all was over inside the church, the lofty pyra- 
mid which had been erected outside in the square 
was set on fire. The canons of the basilica and 
the magistrates of the city stood and watched 
the flames rising to the sky and signalling to the 
whole town the commencement of rejoicings and 

As the feast was to be solemnized with an octave, 
the archbishop, the chapter, the magistrates and the 
parliament again assembled next morning for mass Nov> 21> 
at the altar of the relics in the middle of the nave. 


Afterwards they carried St. Edmund's shrine to the 
chapel of the Holy Ghost, where for eight days 
citizens and strangers alike came to see and pray 
before it. 
The French Thus exposed to public view, all could examine 

shrine of the 

royal martyr. ft s rare W0 rkmanship. It was a masterpiece of the 
silver-smith's skill. At each corner stood figures of 
the saint-bishops of Toulouse, and, under a portico 
in the front centre, one of St. Edmund in massive 
silver. Four Corinthian columns supported an 
exquisitely wrought balcony, from which rose a 
dome surmounted by a cross. All was made of 
solid silver. 

After the octave the custodians took the shrine 
and its precious contents back to the crypt. As a 
record to posterity the register from which this 
account is taken was drawn up and signed by wit- 
nesses, and then enclosed in a phial and placed 
within the shrine. Thus concluded the tenth trans- 
lation of St. Edmund. 

PLACE. A.D. 1644 TO 1892. 

[Authorities " La verification des Reliques en 1807," the original of which is 
preserved in the archiepiscopal archives at Toulouse, and also the "Mono- 
graphic de la Basilique," etc., which has been already referred to under 
Section 17.] 

Before A.D. 1790. From 1644 to the French Revolution the history 
of St. Edmund's body is uneventful. His shrine 
was annually exposed, like those of other saints, on 


the feast of Eelics in Whit-week, and at the cen- 
tenary celebration of 1762, one of the most magni- A - D - 1762 - 
ficent on record, his relics were carried in the great 
procession. Beyond this the annals of Saint-Sernin's 
record nothing. 

Before the end of the century the hurricane of the Rev ^tfo 
French Revolution broke over the city, overturning 
everything sacred and profane. In 1790 it suppressed 
the abbey of Saint-Sernin. 1 Nevertheless, the traditional 
love and respect of the Toulousians for their saints 
saved the relics of the basilica. Previous to the 
storm the Abbe du Bourg removed some to a place 
of safety, and on the institution of the civil clergy 
Pere Hubert, formerly provincial of the Minims, 
who was appointed to Saint-Sernin, though he could 
not hinder the spoliation of the shrines and reliquaries, Feb. 27, IT 
watched over their contents with jealous care, and 
within eighteen months placed them all with reverence 
and order in less costly reliquaries. 

In June and August, 1807, in eleven long sittings 
presided over by Monsieur de Barbazan, vicar-general 
of the archbishop of Toulouse, and Monseigneur du 
Bourg, then bishop of Limoges, an ecclesiastical com- 
mission examined all the relics of the basilica. 
Monseigneur du Bourg and the commissioners who 
had assisted at the removal of the relics when the 
shrines were confiscated in 1794, gave evidence as to 
their identity, and eighteen witnesses signed the 
document which enumerated and authenticated them. 

Since that day the reliquaries and their priceless 
contents have been kept under three locks, the keys guards theni- 
of which are held by the archbishop, the parish- 
priest of Saint-Sernin, and the town council, and so 
strictly are the relics guarded that in 1822 the 

1 It numbered 24 canons, 10 prebendaries and 10 choir priests. 
A line of 34 abbots had ruled the abbey. 



St. Edmund's 
present resting- 

municipal council refused Cardinal de Clermont- 
Tonnerre, archbishop of Toulouse, any portion of them 
for himself or other churches. They were gifts, thejr 
pleaded, of popes and kings ; the inhabitants of the 
city set a high value upon them ; strangers came from 
afar to visit them ; to scatter them broadcast would 
inflict an irreparable loss on Toulouse. Only for a 
special reason, and that to repair a past injury, did 
they permit the present Cardinal Archbishop of 
Toulouse to open St. Edmund's shrine in 1867, and 
to abstract a bone in order to present relics of the 
saint to his abbey-town and to the monastery which 
still glories in his patronage. 

The rest of St. Edmund's earthly remains still 
repose in the crypt of Saint-Serum, which vies with 
that of St. Peter's at Eome in sacred treasures. Its 
subterranean chambers, excavated behind the high 
altar, correspond with the apse above, in which the 
shrine of St. Saturninus stands overshadowed by its 
marble baldachin. After wandering round the vast 
basilica, the pilgrim approaches, with a feeling of 
awe, this place renowned throughout Christendom, 
in which the bones of apostles and of the most 
illustrious martyrs, confessors and virgins repose, 
the pious objects of veneration for generations 

The inscription " Non est in toto sanction orbe 
locus " distinguishes the handsome doorway known as 
the " Pilgrims'," by the side of which is a second 
doorway, inscribed with the words, " Hie sunt vigiles 
qui custodiunt civitatem," " Here are the watchers 
who keep the city." This second doorway opens upon 
The inscriptions the flight of steps descending to the crypts. On 

on the walls. , 

entering, the stranger first pauses to read from the 
two white marble tablets let into the walls on 

The crypt of 

Its entrance. 


each side, these simple but soul-stirring words : 

D.O.M. 1 Under the auspices and by the pious munificence 
of the Emperor Charlemagne, Louis le Debonnaire, and 
Charles the Bald, the illustrious basilica of St. Saturninus 
received the precious remains of several Apostles and of a 
great number of Martyrs, Virgins and Confessors of the faith, 
The Dukes of Aquitaine and the Counts of Toulouse added 
to their number. The magistrates of this city have assidu- 
ously guarded them. Here Religion preserves for the per- 
petual edification of the faithful a portion of the cross of our 
Saviour; a thorn of His crown, a gift of Count Alphonsus, 
the brother of St. Louis ; a fragment of the stone of the Holy 
Sepulchre, the glorious spoil of the crusaders of Toulouse; 
and a portion of one of the robes of the Mother of God. 

Underthese vaults, O pious pilgrim, are venerated relics 
of the Apostles St. Peter, St. Paul, St. James the Greater, St. 
James the Less, St. Philip, St. Simon, St. Jude, St. Barnabas, 
St. Bartholomew and of St. Claudius, St. Crescentius, St. 
Nicostratus, St. Simplex, St. Castor, St. Christopher, St. Julian, 
St. Cyr, St. Ascisclus, St. Cyril, St. Blasius, St. George. 

Here rest the first bishops of Toulouse, whose line begins 
in the third century St. Saturninus, St. Honorius, St. Hilary, 
St. Sylvus, St. Exuperus. Not far from their venerated 
remains repose those of St. Papoul, St. Honestus, St. William 
Duke of Aquitaine, St. Edmund King of England, St. Giles, 
St. Gilbert, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Vincent of Paul, St. 
Raymund, Pope St. Pius V.. St. Susanna, St. Julitta, St. 
Marguerita, St. Catharine, St. Lucy, St. Agatha. 

The second inscription runs as follows : The secoml 


D.O.M. Pope Urban II., after having assembled at Cler- 
mont, in the year of our Lord 1O96, the faithful destined to 
deliver the Holy Sepulchre, deigned to consecrate with his 
own hands this basilica, one of the most precious monuments 
of Christian art. This Sovereign Pontiff was attended by 
Raymund IV. Count of Toulouse and Saint-Gilles, the illus- 
trious prince who first of all adorned his standards and his 
arms with the holy cross of our Saviour. The supreme 
Pontiffs Clement VII., Paul V., Urban V. and Pius IV. have 
granted numerous privileges to this abbatial church. 
Those who visit its seven principal altars may gain the same 

1 Domino optinie Maximo. 


indulgences as by praying before the seven altars of St. 
Peter's at Rome. The kings of France Charles VI., Louis XI., 
Francis I., Charles IX., Louis XIII., and Louis XVI. have 
visited these holy catacombs and offered up their prayers 
before these shrines. To this spot the pious inhabitants of 
this country, when public calamity befalls them, hasten to 
beg the powerful intercession of the Saints, the protectors 
of this ancient and religious city. 

The descent into After passing the marble tablets the pilgrim 

the first crypt. . . 

descends a flight or live steps, which abut upon the 
upper part of the crypt. Thence three steps, and 
again eleven steps wind down to the part excavated 
under the high altar and the adjacent aisles. Here, 

The first crypt, 

each in a niche or upon an altar, the numerous 
reliquaries are kept, which in Whit-week every year 
are carried in procession and exposed for the venera- 
tion of the faithful. The head of St. Thomas Aquinas 
in a magnificent silver reliquary, the relics of St. 
Francis of Paula in a shrine of marvellous workman- 
ship, the relics of St. Pius V., of St. Gregory the 
i u which is the Great and of thirty other saints rest there, and 

head of St. i i i p n -n i i 

Edmund. among them the head or St. .Edmund in a simple 
reliquary of gilt wood. 

The inner crypt, The lower and inner part of the crypt lies under 
the apse of the basilica. The gilded statues of the 
emperors Constantine and Charlemagne stand sentinel 
at the entrance. In the eight chapels around and 
in the six intermediate niches the bodies of saints 
repose in shrines more or less precious. The bodies 
of St. Eaymund, St. Honoratus, St. Exuperus, St. 
Hilary, St. Gilbert, and St. Giles fill the niches. Of 
the two chapels at the end one contains the Holy 
Thorn in a silver reliquary in the form of a balda- 
chin, the other a notable part of the body of St. 
James the Greater. In four other chapels the bodies 
of SS. Simon and Jude, St. Philip and St. James 
the Less, St. Papoul and the collected relics of 


several less known saints are preserved. Lastly the 
two chapels on the left of the entrance are occupied, st. 
the first by the body of St. Barnabas, and the second 
by a wooden shrine plated with copper gilt, which 
encloses the body of St. Edmund, the martyr- 
king of East Anglia. 


[Authorities Herman, and Osbert de Clare and Samson, the joint authors of MS. 
Cott. Titus A. viii., relate several incidents in connection with the relics of 
the royal martyr. Weever in his " Funeral Monuments," pp. 463-4, gives a 
list of relics of St. Edmund found at the abbey at the dissolution, and 
Dugdale's " Monasticon," edit. 1846, mentions various relics; see vol. ii. 
p. 235, vol. iii. p. 124 and vol. v. p. 148. The work " L'Eglise Metropolitaine 
et primatiale Saint-Andre de Bordeaux," par M. Hierosme Lopes (Bordeaux, 
1668) p. 37, vouches for the existence of the Bordeaux relic, but inquiries 
made both at Bordeaux and Lucca have failed to trace the relics in either city.] 

At the opening of St. Edmund's tomb in 1644 the 

,. ,, , ,, ., ,, , SanctiEdmundi, 

radius, a small bone of the fore-arm, was found 

missing. The monks of St. Edinundsbury possessed 

this relic, which they carried in procession on great 

festivals, as we learn from the record of King 

Henry VI.'s visit to the abbey in 1433. Weever IJS^ Bury . 

enumerates it among the relics of the abbey as a 

" sinew " of St. Edmund's arm. No record, however, 

exists of the time or circumstances under which it 

was separated from the body. 

The Toulouse " Proces Verbal " also notices the 
absence of all but seven teeth in the lower jaw and 
three in the upper. The martyr may have lost some 
of these during his passion from the brutality of 
the Danes. Others may have been taken as relics 
at any time. If so, what became of them ? No 
register of St. Edmund's Bury or known inventory of 


any other abbey or church mentions them. Dugdale l 
enumerates among the treasures of St. Albari's a relic 

At St. Alton's. i) e Sancto Edmundo Eege et Marty re," which was 
evidently distinct from the relic " de camisia " which 
he also mentions, but he gives no particulars, and 
therefore it is quite uncertain what it consisted of. 

At Bordeaux. The cathedral of Bordeaux possessed a relic of St. 
Edmund in its treasury in 1668 ; so also did the 
city of Dijon. These two relics were probably given 

A.tDroii away in 1644 at the time of the translation of the 

martyr's body. The great Revolution destroyed all 
authentications in both places, and, although Bordeaux 
possesses a box full of the relics of saints, no tradition 
exists to prove that any portion of St. Edmund's 
bones is there. 

At st. Edmund's In 1867 Cardinal Desprez, the present archbishop 
of Toulouse, opened the shrine of St. Edmund and 
abstracted some of the relics, of which he presented 
a bone an inch long, and probably the largest out of 
the shrine, to St. Edmund's, Douai, with which he 
had been connected from a child. The monastery and 
college of St. Edmund at Douai possesses a second por- 
tion of the royal martyr's bones, which the same cardinal 
archbishop gave to the late Father King of "Waltham- 
stow, who bequeathed it and its reliquary to the 
present owners. The cardinal presented a third 
portion to an English bishop, 2 who wears it in his 
pectoral cross, the most precious memorial of his patron 
saint which he could possess. Lastly the noble and 

At modem Bury. g ener ous cardinal gave the only portion which re- 
mained to St. Edmund's church, Bury-St.-Edmund's, 
where it is kept in a silver and gold reliquary, on 
a stand set with emeralds and chased with designs 
emblematic of martyrdom. The inscription, " From 

1 "Monasticon," vol. ii. p. 232. 

2 The Right Rev. Edmund Knight, D.D., bishop of Shrewsbury. 


the bones of St. Edmund the Martyr, king of East 
England," encircles it, and yearly on the feast of St. 
Edmund this relic, in the midst of flowers and lighted 
tapers, is exposed upon the saint's altar for the 
veneration of the faithful. 

The holy woman Oswene, the devout keeper of The martyr's 
the martyr's body in the early church at Beodrics- 
worth, preserved the fragments of St. Edmund's nails 
in a little box upon the attar. In the days of Matthew 
of Westminster the monks still treasured these curious 
relics, and at the dissolution of the monastery Crom- 
well's commissioners wrote of the " paryngs of St. 
Edmund's naylls " as among the treasures of the 
abbey. The monk Ailwin, when guardian of the holy 
body, also kept with care the combings of the martyr's 
hair, which the monks afterwards preserved with 
other mementoes of their patron in the " Chapel of 
the Relics," which was built east of the shrine 
purposely to receive such sacred treasures. 

The most precious, however, of all the mementoes st. Edmund's 


of the royal martyr were the garments which he 

wore at his passion. Abbot Leofstan had removed 

them, torn and blood-stained, from the holy body 

and laid them up in a crystal case for the veneration 

of pilgrims. In speaking of relics of St. E.lmund 

Herman states that he refers only to pieces of these 

robes. St. Alban's possessed a portion of the martyr's At st. Alban's. 

camisia, or under-tunic, which it esteemed among 

its most valuable treasures. And Abbot Baldwin, in 

his personal appeal to Alexander II. against Bishop 

Herfast's attempt to fix his see at St. Edmund's Bury 

and to degrade the abbey to a cathedral priory, took 

pieces of them with him, in order to spread devotion 

to the protector of his abbey. He bestowed a part 

on the cathedral church of St. Martin at Lucca, l At Lucca 

1 Consecrated A.D. 1070. Abbot Leofstan also had visited 



where an altar under the invocation of the martyr 
Edmund was erected at the entrance of the church 
to receive it. l Not long after Baldwin's return home, 
Prior Edfric and the priest Siward went on a 
pilgrimage to Eome and lodged at Lucca at the house 
of a man named Peter, who gave them the following 
explanation of the devotion to St. Edmund which they 
had remarked in the city. A wealthy man and his wife 
living in the suburbs had an only son, a little boy, 
whom they passionately loved. When they saw the 
child growing up weak and feeble, they were over- 
whelmed with grief. Physicians could give no cure, 
so they carried the boy to the shrines of saints ; 
they burnt lights in many sanctuaries ; they gave 
abundant alms to the poor and to the Church. The 
child only grew weaker and weaker, till it hovered 
between life and death. At this juncture a certain 
venerable priest unexpectedly visited them and put 
the question, " Whether they knew of the holy King 
Edmund, who rested incorrupt in England, and 
through whom the Lord did wonderful things ? " 
A miracle there. They answered that they had never heard of him. 
Then he commanded them to carry the child at once 
into the city to the church of blessed Martin and 
to lay it upon the steps of the altar of the martyr 
Edmund, and to keep vigil there. Hastening to the 
church, they lighted tapers to the saint; they knelt 
through the livelong day in prayer. As darkness 
came on, wearied out with watching, they fell asleep. 

Lucca on his way to Rome, and he brought thence a fac-simile 
of the renowned crucifix Volto Santo of Lucca, the work of St. 
Nicodemus, which was venerated for centuries n St. Edmund's 
abbey church. To Leofstan and Baldwin Lucca probably owes its 
two valuable medieval MSS. of St. Abbo's "Vitaet Passio Sti 
Edmundi." See Battely, p. 42. 
1 "Inporticu ecclesue." 


When they awoke at break of day, they found the 
child alive and well, sitting, up and playing with 
the leaves of thyme with which in those days they 
carpeted the floor of the church. The host Peter 
affirmed to the two English pilgrims that he had 
seen the boy sick and dying and just afterwards full 
of health. Other people saw the miracle, so that 
when an annual feast in honour of St. Edmund was 
instituted, crowds from all parts flocked to its cele- 
bration. l 

Herman relates two other stories connected with A reiic possessed 

by the abbot of 

relics of the " exuvue Sti Edmundi. It appears by Rfi>aix. 
the first that Warner, the devout abbot of Eebaix 
in Hainault, a man of extraordinary literary and 
musical powers, visited St. Edmund's. The monks 
received him with their customary ceremonies and 
hospitality, and he composed for them four antiphons 
in honour of St. Edmund, which he put to the sweetest 
music. He became a great favourite with the monks, 
and at his departure Abbot Baldwin gave him a relic 
in order that he might spread devotion to the royal 
martyr in foreign parts. 2 After crossing the sea 
and while passing through Ponthieu on his way to 
St.-Kiquier, he fell into the hands of bandits, who 
stripped him of everything. Gerwin, abbot of St.- 
Pdquier, who was universally feared and respected, 
distressed at his brother's mishap, at once sought out 
the robbers, and by threats and persuasions forced 
them to give up their spoil. The relic of St. Edmund, 

1 At the present day there is no trace of this relic at Lucca. 
A lot of relics in confusion exist, but that of St. Edmund is not 
among them. Being of silk or linen only, it has probably long 
since fallen to dust. Cardinal Franciotti, a native of Lucca, A.D. 
1570, in his " Lives of the Saints " connected with the city, makes 
no mention of a relic of St. Edmund in the list of the treasures 
at San Martino. 

2 "In exteras regiones." 


however, which the pious Warner valued more than 
all his goods, was lost. All that night till about 
dawn he lay awake lamenting it. When he fell 
asleep, it seemed to him as if St. Edmund came and 
laid his hand upon his breast and with reassuring 
words told him that the relic was there. Next 
morning he found it as the vision said, and he laid it 
afterwards upon the altar in his abbey church. 

Abbot Baldwin's Herman's second story relates how Abbot Baldwin 
being in Normandy at the court of William and 
Matilda, with whom he was often in request both 
as counsellor and physician, sent a soldier named 
Norman to his abbey for news and medicine and 
other necessaries, and above all for a phylactery of 
St. Edmund. l Norman, desirous of returning without 
delay, took passage on a boat which was just setting 
sail, with sixty passengers, thirty-six head of cattle, 
sixteen horses and a heavy cargo. When out at sea a 
storm arose which threatened the utter destruction of the 
vessel. Then Norman, who was sleeping by the side of 
his horse, saw St. Edmund approach him, who bade him 
rise and not forget his relic. Norman awoke, and, 
raising aloft in his hand the reliquary winch hung 
from his neck, he called upon captain and men to 
pray to God and St. Edmund to save them. As they 
knelt in prayer the storm abated, and they reached 
port in safety. On the same journey Baldwin's 
messenger ascribed his safe passage of a peril- 
ous ford to the like protection of the saint's phy- 

other portions. A heading in the Bodleian MS. 240 f. 646, entitled 
" De Mantica cum reliquiis Sti Ednmndi furata et 
postea miraculose inventa," 2 shows that other relics 

1 Phylacterium (see Ducange) was a case containing a relic. 

2 About a wallet containing relics of St. Edmund which was 
stolen and afterwards miraculously found. 


of the saint existed, and probably they also consisted 
of pieces of his robes. 

These relics, however, iudcjing from the custom of The monk Her 

man displays the 

the church, were in most instances very small. The J.'^ rt ^' s [ e obes to 
greater portion of the martyr's robes lay in their 
crystal case in the "Chapel of the Eelics," as the 
following interesting story proves : l Brother Herman, 
a monk of St. Edmund's and a friend of Tolinus, 
frequently preached to the people. One Whit-Sunday, 
moved by the crowds of people, and carried away 
by his fervour, he summarily brought out the chest 
of relics and displayed the martyr's robes to the 
faithful, who, giving praise to God, approached and 
reverenced them. Three weeks after, some nobles 
who heard of the incident devoutly begged the favour 
which had been accorded to the common people. 
The brethren assented and privately presented the 
relics to be kissed in the crypt. The news soon 
spread, and an immense multitude of both sexes 
flocked to the abbey and refused to leave without 
seeing the relics. To allay the excitement, the coffer 
containing them was placed on a wooden stand in 
the middle of the apse, and Herman exposed them 
for veneration. He even took the camisia, or under- 
garment, purple with the martyr's blood, from the 
casket, pointed out the blood-stains and arrow-rents 
and even unfolded it for the people to kiss. The 
devout virgin Seietha, with soul magnifying God, 
looked on, while the holy robe diffused a fragrance 
surpassing anything earthly, as the crowd bore witness. 

That same day Herman fell sick, and the following HO is punished 

i . m i T ii -n i -,1 for his irrever- 

night iolmus, appearing to Brother Edwin with a ence. 
severe countenance, strongly blamed him and the 
other brethren for their irreverence. "The camisia 
of St. Edmund," he said, " for the sake of vulgar 
1 Cott. MS. Titus A. viii. 



st. Edmund' 

st. Edmund 



applause has been carelessly taken from its casket 
and still more carelessly unfolded, so that the martyr's 
blood which clung to it has fallen to the ground and 
perished." Edwin gave the message to the brethren, 
and on the third day at sunset Herman died, a severe 
lesson to those who treat the relics of saints without care. 

s Besides his garments the monks religiously pre- 
served the psalter from which St. Edmund in his 
younger days studied the outpourings of the royal 
Prophet's soul. According to Blomefield and Butler 
this priceless volume found its way after the dissolu- 
tion of the abbey to the library of St. James' church 
at Bury. 

s St. Edmund's abbey possessed another memento of 

. ... 

its illustrious protector in his sword, which lay in 
its scabbard among the other relics. l The " Eegis- 
trum Eubrum " relates the following dream in connec- 
tion with this sword : 2 When William Bateman, 
bishop of Norwich, attempted to subject the abbey 
to his visitation and jurisdiction (A.D. 1345), William 
of Hengham, a monk of devout and religious life and 
keeper of the shrine, while asleep upon a bench 3 to 
the right of the high altar, saw the martyr clothed 
in royal robes, crowned and armed, rise from the 
shrine and go towards the chapel of the relics, where 
Ailwin, his chamberlain, drew the sword from its 
ain. scabbard and respectfully presented it to his master, 
who, taking it from the monk's hand, proceeded with 
an animated but placid countenance through the 
church into the open air, the doors opening to him 

1 From two instances at least in which St. Edmund appeared 
and pointed to his sword with such words as " Hsec est victoria 
qua mundum vicit yEdmundus," we may imply that the sword in 
the Chapel of the Relics was at least emblematic of the sword of 
martyrdom, if not the actual instrument. 

2 Yates' " History of Bury," p. 110. 

3 " Super bancum." 


with a great noise but without any human assistance. 
The vision distressed the sleeping monk, who thought 
that the saint was abandoning his abbey. The return 
of the martyr, however, after a short absence com- 
forted him. He saw him deliver the sword now 
covered with blood to his faithful Ailwin, who, after 
cleansing and sheathing it, restored it to its place 
and disappeared. Then blessed Edmund laid himself 
to rest again in his shrine. The bishop lost his suit 
the very next day, and afterwards, prosecuting it in 
the pope's court, he suddenly expired, exclaiming with 
Ids last breath, as many in the Eoman court bear 
witness : " Bury ! Bury ! Saint Edmund ! Saint Ed- 
mund ! " This failure of the bishop's claim and the 
previous vision of Brother William naturally caused 
the monks to attribute their victory to their royal 
patron. The incident is mentioned here, however, 
merely as a record of the existence of St. Edmund's 
sword. 1 

The next relic of the saint, his drinking-cup, was st. Edmund's 


kept in Abbot Samson's time on the rood-beam near 
the shrine. An oaken box bound with iron bands and 
fastened with an iron lock enclosed it. At the fire 
in 1198 the monks showed the deepest anxiety for this 
precious relic, till they found it in its singed linen 
cloth among some pieces of charred wood. An indul- 
gence of five hundred days " toties quoties " was 
granted to pilgrims who drank from it " in the wor- 
shippe of God and Saint Edmund," and hence its name 
of "Pardon Bowl." The Books of Miracles 2 recount 

1 Osbertde Clare in his second book of St. Edmund's Miracles, 
no. xviii. (Cott. MS. Titus A. viii.) mentions the cure of a 
monk of Shrewsbury, to whom the martyr appeared with a sword 
on which was inscribed, " This is the victory by which Edmund 
overcame the world." 

2 Osbert de Clare, Cott. MS. Titus A. viii., bk. ii. nos. xiii. 
xiv. xix. See also Bodl. MS. 240 fol. 656-658-659 for miracles 
"De Cipho Sti Edmund i." 


several instances of sick persons regaining their health 
on drinking from St. Edmund's cup, notably a rich 
lady after long suffering from fever ; a Dunwich man 
with dropsy ; and Gervasius, a Cluniac monk of St. 
Saviour's, Southwark, who himself related it to the 
writer of the miracle. This same Gervasius, meeting 
with a fresh malady almost immediately afterwards, 
was carried by the monks to their infirmary. There 

Miracles by 

drinking from it. he begged to drink again from the martyr's cup, and 
the seniors brought it to him from the treasury. 
That night he recovered, and next day, the feast of 
St. Edmund, he went to the church to give thanks, 
" Thus," concludes the narrator, " mayest thou work. 
Edmund, venerated and illustrious king in Christ, 
that God may magnify thy glory through the ages 
and by the fulness of thy virtues exalt His own 
name everywhere upon earth." l 

tenner? unds Among the relics of St. Edmund his banner or 
standard holds an historic position. Lydgate describes 
two banners. The first, merely symbolic of the 
martyr's virtues, is depicted in the poet's richly illu- 
minated work with the device of three gold crowns 
on an azure ground : 

" Which (banneret) .... 

King Edmund bar certeyn, 
When he was sent be grace of Goddis hond, 
At Geyneburuk for to slew Kyng Sweyn." 

The other standard, 2 which went before King 
Edmund in his royal progresses and overshadowed 

1 A second cup of St. Edmund seems to have belonged to 
Henry, last Earl of Lincoln of that name, who gave it to the 
abbey about the reign of Henry \ T I. This cup had a bowl of 
silver gilt, and altogether was a piece of rare workmanship. 
The earl's chaplain, wearing a surplice, on great feasts offered his 
patron's most dignified guests to drink from this bowl. 

2 See the print of it in the Camden edition of Jocelin's Chronicle, 
vol. 13, p. 183, and also the magnificent illumination of it which 
forms the frontispiece of the Harleian MS. 2278. 


his armies in the battle-field, represented on a bright 
red ground the tree of knowledge embroidered in gold 
with silver fruit. The horizontal branches of the tree sM^ 01 
divided the banner into two. In the lower part, on 
either side, worked in silver, Adam and Eve stood 
about to eat the forbidden fruit, which the serpent, 
twined round the trunk and represented with a 
human shape down to the middle, handed to . the 
woman. In the centre of the upper part a circle of 
gold surrounded the Agnus Dei or Holy Lamb in 
silver with a gold glory around the head, its right 
foot bearing up a golden cross fleurde fitclite. The 
red ground of the upper part was powdered with 
golden crescents within the circle and with stars of 
gold outside. Gold stars also bespangled the tree. 
The Benedictine poet of St. Edmund's abbey thus 
describes this ancient and venerable piece of East 
Anglian workmanship : 

" Blyssyd Edmund, kyng, martir and vyrgyne, Lydg te's de- 

Hadde, in thre vertues, by grace of soveryn prys 

Be which he venquysshed all venymes serpentyne. 

Adam ba serpent banysshed fro paradys ; 

Eva also, because she was not wys, 

Eet off an appyl off flesshly fals plesance. 

Which thre figures, Edmund, by <jret avys, 

Bar in his baner, for a remembrance, 

Lyk a wys kyng peeplys to governe. 

Ay unto reson he gaff the sovereynte, 

Figur off' Adam wysly to dyscerne 

T' oppresse in Eva sensualite. 

A Lamb off gold hyh upon a tre, 

An hevenly signe, a tokne off most vertu 

To declare how that humylite 

Above alle vertues pleseth most Jesu. 

Off Adamys synne was wasshe a way the rust 

Be vertu only off thys lambys blood. 

The serpentys venym and al flesshly lust 

Sathan outraied a geyn man, most wood, 

Tyme whan this lamb was oflred on the rood 



Its efficacy 
against fires. 

The battle of 
St. Edmund's 

For our redempcioun, to which havyng reward, 
This hooly martir, this blyssyd kyng so good, 
Bar this lamb hiest a loffte in his standard. 
The feeld of Gowlys was tokne off his suffrance 
Whan cruel Danys were with hym at \verre ; 
And for a signe off royal siiffisance 
That no vices never maad hym erre, 
The feeld powdryd with many hevenly sterre, 
And half cressantis off gold, ful bryht and cleer. 
And wher that evere he journeyde nyh or ferre 
Ay in the feeld with hym was this baneer." 1 

The poet next describes its miraculous efficacy 
against fires and conflagrations. Those who wish, 
he remarks, can easily verify the cases in which it 
is said to have extinguished devouring flames. 

An historical instance of the use of St. Edmund's 
banner occurred in 1173, when the battle 'of Fornham, 
on which the fate of king and kingdom depended, was 
fought and won under its protection. Henry II.'s 
three sons, Henry (who had been crowned king in 
1170), Itichard and Geoffrey, with the support of the 
kings of France and Scotland, the Count of Flanders 
and several powerful nobles, formed against their 
father as formidable a combination as ever opposed 
English or European sovereign. The civil war broke 
out in England in the summer of 1173, and at the 
same time the Scots began their raids on the northern 
borders. While the royal forces battled witli the in- 
surgents in the north, Eobert Earl of Leicester with a 
The invasion of lame force of Flemings landed at Walton-le-Naze in 

East Anglia. 

Suffolk on the 29th of September, and Earl Bigot re- 
ceived him with open arms at Framlingham Castle, 
twenty miles inland. The people of the neighbour- 
ing district anxiously assembled in considerable force 
under the Earls of Cornwall, Gloucester, and Arundel, 

1 This extract from the beginning of the Harl. MS. 2278 has 
been printed by Sir Harris Nicholas in the " Retrospective 
Review," N.S., vol. i. pp. 98-100. 


to" :repel the insurgents and save their homes from 
destruction. Meanwhile the news of this fresh incur- 
sion filled the royal leaders in the north with dismay. 
Concealing the intelligence from the Scots, they patched 
up a hasty truce and marched southwards to St. 
Edmund's- Bury. They had scarcely entered the town Theroyai army 

at St. Edmund's 

when the Earl of Leicester, not aware of their presence, Bury, 
in forcing his way to his own county, passed Eornham- 
St.-Genevieve within four miles of the north gate. 
The king and his adherents committed their cause to St. 
Edmund. They begged for the royal martyr's standard 
from the hands of Abbot Hugh, and with it unfurled at 
the head of their force they marched to meet the 
invaders on the right bank of the Larke. Imitating the 
Northerners with the improvised standard of St. Cuth- Fomham-st.- 


bert r s corporal, they placed their sacred banner in a Oct. 13, 1173. 
conspicuous position and attacked the insurgents, whom 
they routed in a few hours. Ten thousand of the 
enemy were left dead on the field. The victors 
returned to the abbey to restore the sacred standard, 
now more precious than ever in the eyes of the people 
east of the fens, and to sing the " Te Deum " at St. 
Edmund's shrine. For centuries after this English 
victory, the greatest nobles contended for the right 
of carrying St. Edmund's banner. 

The following narrative from the Bodleian MS. 240 An arrow at st 

Edmund the 

indicates the existence of a relic, in the shape of an Martyr's in 


arrow, at St. Edmund's church in London in the 
14th or 15th century. A rector of that church, 
wishing to exchange benefices with a country vicar, 
stipulated to take with him from the church an 
arrow, said to be one of the instruments of St. 
Edmund's martyrdom, and which he therefore 
valued more than gold. On entering a barge at 
Billingsgate to proceed by water to his vicarage, the 
barge remained immovable in the water. Only after 


he had returned to shore with the relic could the 
boatman proceed. Eesolving to go by land, some 
invisible power stopped him on the bridge, and against 
his will he at last restored the arrow to its former 
Pieces of st. The last ancient relics of St. Edmund of which there 

Edmund s coffin. 

is record are some pieces of his coffin which the 
Cluniacs of Thetford kept among their treasures. l 
They perhaps belonged to the old coffin which Theodred 
the Good replaced by a new one in 950. No history, 
however, exists of these pieces of wood, or how they 
were obtained, and, like the martyr's garment, arrow, 
psalter, sword, cup and standard, they are probably 
lost forever. 
The oak of the One memento, however, of the royal martyr sur- 


vived in his own land to the present century. A 
tradition unbroken for generations pointed out in 
Hoxne or Heglesdune wood the oak-tree to which 
King Edmund was bound by his executioners, and 
which our Catholic forefathers venerated as a priceless 
memorial of the saint's martyrdom. Langtoft thus 
commemorates it : 

" Where he was shot a noble chapel standes, 

And somwhat of that tree that thei bond untill his handes. " 2 

Fell in August, On a calm summer's evening in the August of 1848, 


this venerable witness of the Christian Edmund's 
victory, wrinkled and gnarled with the storms of a 
thousand winters, fell by its own weight. On splitting 
up the trunk the saw grated on a hard substance in 
the heart of the tree, which proved on examination to 
be a delicate little arrow-head firmly embedded in a 

1 Thetford Priory, " Monasticon," vol. v. p. 148, edit. 1821. 

2 An old legend says that wolves from the country round, Avhen 
wounded or worn out with age, crawled to the foot of this sacred 
tree to die. 


black knot that had grown round it, a fact which the An arrow-head 
Antiquarian Society of London considered as an un- bedded in it. 
questionable confirmation of the ancient tradition. 
Sir Edward Kerrison, on whose estate the oak stood, 
preserved the piece of wood with the arrow adhering to 
it, and exhibited it for some time in the museum of 
the Athemieum at St. Edmund's Bury. 1 

The English Benedictines of St. Edmund's monastery some portions 

are preserved at 

at Douai in France obtained possession of a large piece st. Edmund's, 
of the oak 2 in December, 1848, which they now 
preserve on the high altar of their chapel. The 
Jesuit fathers at Bury-St.-Edmtmd's also possess a And at Bury. 
piece of the hallowed tree in their church in the 
martyr's own town. 

At the end of this chapter on the sacred body and The return of st. 

Edmund to 

relics of St. Edmund, the question naturally conies to En s laud - 
the lips, when will the royal martyr, according to the 
old prophecy, return to his own land ? England is the 
natural home of St. Edmund as it is of every English 
saint. When the hour of doom came for Jerusalem, 
a voice was heard through the streets proclaiming that 
the saints were departing from the city. The besieged 
then knew that God had given up His favoured city 
to vengeance and would not be appeased. The banish- 
ment of our holy ones from the eyes and hearts of the 
people signalled England's fate, and their removal in 
body and in spirit foreboded its evil day. May their 
return to honour and veneration proclaim that the 
time of vengeance is passed and the hour of recon- 
ciliation at hand ! 

1 Lady Eateman of Hoxne Hall recently named Oakley Park 
is its present happy owner, and other pieces of the oak are still 
in the hands of her agent. 

2 Through the united kindness of Rev. L. F. Page, of Woolpit 
Parsonage, Suffolk, the Rev. R. Cobbold, Rector of Wostham, and 
Mr. C. Smythies, agent of Sir Edward Kerrison, by whose 
permission he made the gift. 



Tlie Miracles of St. Edmund. 

[Authorities. Special records of the miracles of St. Edmund were kept by the 
guardians of the shrine at least from the time of the translation of the 
sacred body to Beodrics worth in 903. These earliest registers have perished, 
however, and their contents only partially reach us through other sources, of 
which St. Abbo's "Vita" is the first. The next and oldest register of 
miracles properly so called is the fine eleventh century MS. in the Cottonian 
collection. Tiber B. ii., entitled "Miracula B. Edmundi Regis," auctore 
Hermanno archidiacono. Its age and style seem to denote it as the 
author's autograph. It is also probably the " Book of Miracles " referred to 
by Matthew of Westminster (vol. i. p. 509, Bohn's edit.) The writer has first 
transcribed St. Abbo's "Vita." The record of miracles follows, fol. 19, and 
continues to fol. 84, where the narrative ends abruptly shortly after the 
description of the translation of the relics into the new church in 1095. St. 
Edmund's name at lirst is written in emerald and gold, but after a few pages 
the spaces for it are left blank, the illuminator not having completed his work. 
"There is considerable doubt," writes Hardy, "as to the identity of the 
individual here styled Herman the archdeacon." In the opening lines the 
illuminator neglected to fill in the author's name, but a 15th century hand 
has written at the foot of fol. 19, " Incipiunt miracula scripta ab Hermano 
Archidiacono tempore Baldeweni circa annum Christi 1070." A 14th century 
note records the same fact in Bodl. 240. The author in his preface writes 
that not " his own presumption, but the command of Abbot Baldwin of happy 
memory, led him to compile his work," partly from oral testimony and partly 
from an old register then in the abbey library. Again in the body of the MS., 
in narrating the punishment of Bishop Herfast, he speaks of himself as one of 
that prelate's officials. There can be little doubt, then, that Herman was 
archdeacon of Norwich, and in later life a monk of St. Edmund's Bury, to 
which he shows an enthusiastic attachment in every page of his work. Several 
copies of Herman's "Miracula" exist. A complete copy, made by Father 
Augustine Baker, the Benedictine, in the 17th century, and entitled by Butler 
the " Liber Feretrariorum," is in the library of Jesus College, Oxford, 75. 30. 
The Bodleian Library possesses another copy in the small llth century MS., 
Digby, no. 39, fol. 24-39, which once belonged to the monastery of St. Mary, 
Abingdon. The 13th century MS., " Liber Miraculorum S. Edmundi Orienta- 
HumAnglorum Regis, auctore anonymo," of the Bibl. du Roi, 2621, is merely 
an abridgement of Herman's work, ending with the cure of the crippled 
woman. Dom Martene has printed this piece in his " Amplissima Collectio." 
torn. vi. p. 821, the MS. being at the time in the library of the king of France. 
Herman's compilation has lately been edited in full by von F. Lieberman in 
" Ungedruckte-Anglq-Xormannische Geschichtsquellen " (Triibner and Co., 
Strasburg and London), and also by Arnold in his " Memorials of St. Edmund's 
Abbey," I., Rolls Series. 

The beautifully written volume Titus A. viii. in the Cottoniau collection, a 
MS. of the 13th century, contains after the Life of St. Abbo, which Butler 
inadvertently ascribes to Osbert of Clare, prior of Westminster, two books "on 
the Miracles of St. Edmund." The prologue to Book I. begins by saying that, 
as the deeds of worldlings are lauded to the skies, so the marvels of God in 
His saints should be proclaimed without fear. Edmund as a shining light 
placed upon a candlestick, " tit luceat omnibus qui in domo sunt," " that he 
may shine to all that are in the house," is illustrious not only in Britain but 
beyond the seas by his miracles, sixteen of which the author proceeds to 
relate. Book II. begins with an eulogistic prologue on the royal martyr, the 
conclusion of which compares his virtue to the precious stones in Aaron's 
breastplate. A description of Abbot Baldwin's translation and of nineteen 
miracles follows. A fifteenth century hand has added, " Here is found wanting 
the miracle wrought by St. Edmund on Henry of Essex, also innumerable 


L others." In the margin a 14th century hand has written, " Expliciunt miracula 
scripta per Osbertum de Clare Priorem Westmonasteriensem," " Here end the 
miracles written by Osbert de Clare, prior of Westminster." The cure of Robert 
of Hasley, a canon of Hereford, is added, signed " Per Willelmum Heyhorn. 
Amen." The name is in the same hand-writing as the main part of the MS. and 
is probably that of the scribe who wrote it. The authorship of this collection 
of thirty-seven miracles is twofold. Osbert of Clare in Essex, prior of 
Westminster, A.D. 1108-1140, was the original compiler; but his work, says 
Bale, began " Cum laureatus Dei Martyr Kdmundus.' 1 If so, as a complete 
work, it is lost. The present MS. is an adapted and partly rewritten copy by 
an author whose identity the Bodl. MS. 240 firmly establishes by placing 
opposite to extracts from it the marginal notes, " Ex libro de miraculis ejus, 
Sampson ; " " Sampson abbas Sancti Edmundi ; " " Ex libro priino miraculbruiu 
Sampsonis Abbatis," and the like. Samson, however, must be regarded rather 
as a compiler than as an original author. To the first book lie prefixed a 
preface of his own, and then rewrote the miracles of Herman aiul others in his 
own grave and earnest style. In the second book he begins with Osbert de 
Clare's prologue, distinguishable by its florid but not unpleasant style ; then he 
gives eight chapters from unknown sources and copies the rest to no. xx. from 
Prior Osbert. No. xxi. was added after Samson's death. MS. Budl. 240, 
described at length in Chap. II., after ninety mii-acles extracted from Herman, 
Osbert de Clare and others, gives on fol. (5(51 the "miracula excerpta de parvo 
quodam antiquo quaternio ad feretrum," "miracles extracted from a quaint little 
register kept at the shrine;" on fol. 067, other miracles from another old 
register kept at the shrine ; fol. 672, the " miracula xvii. facta apud Wainflete, 
1374-75," "tht xvii. miracles wrought at H'ainfleet, 137lt-75," and fol. 674, the 
"miracula sea in capella sci Edmundi de Lynge," " the miracles in the 
sanctuary of St. Edmund at Lyng." These extracts from the most authentic 
.sources are extremely valuable and interesting in any account of the super- 
natural manifestations of the royal martyr. 

Of other MSS. bearing on the miracles of St. Edmund, Ashmole 403, ff. 70-71>, 
holds the first place. It was written by Lydgate for presentation to Edward 
IV., as Harl. 2278 was for presentation to Henry VI. After the " Life and Acts 
of St. Edmund" the poet dese.ribes his banner and records his miracles, of 
which the last took place April 28, 1441. Gerald Cambrensis relates a 
curious incident which happened at St. Edmund's Bury in his time, and the 
annals of Toulouse refer to more recent ones.] 

A history of St. Edmund would be incomplete with- General view ot 

. . .-HIT- i ,, i i the miraculous. 

out some further mention ot the "Miracles which 
generations of records attribute to him. It is not 
intended to write a vindication of them here. Their 
possibility to the Creator and Euler of the universe 
cannot be a subject of discussion among His children 
and believers. Whether He uses supernatural or 1111- 
fathomed natural forces to bring about those extra- 
ordinary results which we call miraculous, is of little 
moment. God can manifest divine power in which- 
ever way He wills. That He has done so times without 
number is beyond reasonable dispute. The history of 
the patriarchs and prophets in the old dispensation 
and of the apostles and saints in the new affords 
overwhelming evidence of the fact. Indeed, not only 
His own glory, the honour of His servants and the 
spread of His kingdom demand it, but the soul of man 
unconsciously looks for these displays of God's existence 


and provident watchfulness over the interests of 
His creatures. The invisible world surrounds man so 
closely that it would be the strangest of phenomena 
if it did not sometimes visibly affect his material 
being. Apart from these general principles a wide 
field is still left open for the discussion of evidence 
for and against any miracle in particular. To be ac- 
cepted each must rest on testimony which no historian 
can reject or impartial judge refuse. Some of St. 
Edmund's miracles hardly deserve the name : his 
clients saw in them the supernatural, where others 
would see only the natural ; but all of them are in- 
teresting pictures of the customs and habit of thought 
of the times. 

The chroniclers The keepers of the shrine from a very early date 
miracles". inscribed them as they happened in the libri feretrari- 
orum, or registers of the feretry. The priests and 
clerics who devoted themselves to the service of St. 
Edmund soon after the translation of his body to 
Beodricsworth wrote them in the small and crabbed 
hand which Herman found so difficult to decipher. 
With a simplicity all its own later writers copied them 
into the monastic chronicles and added other marvels 
which they had seen themselves or heard from eye- 
witnesses. Of these writers St. Abbo stands first for 
his learning and culture ; then come Gaufridus, bishop 
of Ely ; Herman, the archdeacon of Norwich, who had 
conversed with the holy bishop Ailwin, the saint's 
" chamberlain ; " Osbert de Clare, prior of Westmin- 
ster, whose refined taste is noticeable in every line of 
his picturesque Latin ; and William of Malmesbury 
and Abbot Sarnson, both historical for common sense. 
The honesty of such men is unimpeachable, and to the 
modern criticism of their narratives they would pro- 
bably reply in the words of Venerable Bede : " Is it to 
be wondered at that the sick should be healed in that 


place where he died ? for, whilst he lived, he never . 
ceased to provide for the poor and infirm, and to 
bestow alms on them and to assist them." x Never- 
theless in this sceptical age an account of St. Edmund's 
miracles would perhaps be ill-timed, if they did not 
fill so important a page in the royal martyr and the 
nation's history. 

" On the death of St. Edmund, the purity of his past A retrospect of 
life," writes William of Malmesbury, 2 " was evidenced miracles. 
by unheard-of miracles. The lifeless head uttered a 
voice inviting all who were in search of it to approach ; 
a wolf, a beast accustomed to prey upon dead carcases, 
was holding it in its paws, and guarding it intact, 
which animal also, after the. manner of a tame creature, 
gently followed the bearers to the tomb and neither did 
nor received injury." The people committed the sacred 
body to the earth, turfed over the grave, and sheltered it 
with a wooden chapel of mean and slight construction. 
" The negligent natives, however, were soon made sen- 
sible of the virtue of the martyr by the miracles which 
he performed." At night a column of heavenly light 
hovered over the spot ; a blind man received his sight 
there. At last Theodred I. exhumed the body, to find 
" the sacred limbs evidencing the glory of his unspotted 
soul by surprising soundness and a milk-like whiteness. 
The head, which was formerly divided from the neck, 
was again united to the rest of the body, showing only 
the sign of martyrdom by a purple seam." 3 So bishop 
and clergy and people translated it to the comparative- 
ly handsome structure at Beodricsworth,." where," says 
St. Abbo, " in him such glorious powers shine fortli and 
are recounted far and wide, as were never before heard 
of among the English people." 

1 Bede's " Ecclesiastical History," Bohn's edit., p. 124. 

2 " Chronicle of the Kings," Bohn's edit., pp. 240-241. 

3 William of Malmesbury, ibid. 



st. Edmund Of all these manifestations of the supernatural the 

makes the un- . , . , . _ . 

just fear him, most striking class comprises those punishments inflic- 
ted on the invaders of St. Edmund's rights or sanctuary. 
They were so well known and believed in as to create a 
traditional fear of St. Edmund throughout the nation. 
" He was felt capable of doing now, what he used to do 
before, " remarks William of Malmesbury ; " that is, 

" ' To spare the suppliant, but confound the proud,' 

by which means he so completely attached the inhabi- 
tants of all Britain to him, that every person looked 
upon himself as particularly happy in contributing 
either money or gifts to St. Edmund's monastery ; even 
kings themselves, who rule others, boasted of being his 
servants and sent him their royal crown, redeeming it, 
if they required to wear it, at a great price. The 
exactors of taxes also, who, in other places, gave loose 
to injustice, were there suppliant, and ceased their 
cavilling at St. Edmund's boundary, admonished thereto 
by the punishment of others who had presumed to 
overpass it." l The monks doubtless gave prominence 
to those miracles by which their patron defended his 
own with such power. They could not repel force by 
force. Providence, therefore, gave them this means of 
keeping at bay the unbridled power of kings and 
A. P. HOB, barons. So, when King Eichard was in captivity and 
the royal justiciaries drew on the treasuries of every 
abbey and church in the land, St. Edmund's shrine 
remained untouched. The gold could be pealed off, they 
said, at least in parts, and afterwards replaced ; but 
Abbot Samson, starting up, answered them : " Know ye 
for certain that I will in no wise do this thing, nor is 
there any man who could force me to consent thereto. 
But I will open the doors of the church ; let him that 

1 "Chronicle of Kings," Bonn's edit., p. 242; see also "De 
Gestis Pontif.," lib. ii. f. 136, b, edit, Lond. 


likes enter ; let him that dares come forward ! " The 
justiciaries were afraid to move in the matter. With 
oath, each for himself, they answered, " I will not 
come forward for my share ; " " Nor will I ! Nor I ! 
The distant and the absent who offend him, St. 
Edmund has been known to punish fearfully : much 
more will he those who close by lay violent hands on 
his coat, and would strip it off ! " The shrine was left 
untouched ; " for," adds the modern eulogist of those 
times, " Lords of the Treasury have in all times their 
impassable limits, be it by ' force of public opinion ' or 
otherwise ; and in those days a heavenly awe over- 
shadowed and encompassed, as it still ought and 
must, all earthly business whatsoever." 1 

The historical punishments which inspired this By miraculously 

,. . ,, , punishing the 

wholesome fear begin with the robbers who were trans- sacrilegious in- 

vaders of his 

fixed in their sacrilegious attempt to enter Beodrics- 1-i s hts - 
worth church and plunder the shrine. The slaying 
of King Sweyn years afterwards made a still deeper 
impression, and the event was everywhere perpetuated 
along the east coast in stone and window, the royal 
martyr being represented with spear in hand and the 
Danish tyrant dead at his feet. 

The case of Llafford Leofstan 2 still f urtlier illustrates The instance 

.. 1111 i n f Llaftbrd 

this class of miracle. It probably happened after Leofstan, 
the induction of the Benedictines. A poor woman, 
the chronicler relates, one 1st of May, fled to 
the shrine of the martyr to escape the notorious 
severity of the " king's man," Sheriff Leofstan, who 
was holding his court on the moot-hill, Thinghogo, 
near the sanctuary. On hearing of the criminal's flight 
the judge, scoffing at St. Edmund's protection, sent 
his men to apprehend her ; when Bomfild, the priest, 

1 Carlyle, " Past and Present," p. 92, edit. 1843. 
- A different person from young Count Leofstan or Abbot 


who causes a and Leofric, the levite, met them at the church-door 

woman to be , . , , . 

dragged from and forbade them entrance; tor 'whom the saint 

the shrine. 

receives in sanctuary," they said, " can by no means 
be delivered up for condemnation." Thus the church 
protected the oppressed and ensured mercy as well as 
justice. The men persisted and threatened force. 
Whereupon the guardians of the shrine fell on their 
knees and began reciting the seven penitential psalms 
and the litanies. Meanwhile Leofstan, enraged at 
the delay in the execution of his orders, hastened to 
support his men ; but lie got no farther than the tomb 
For ins im >iet ^ Bundus the priest. There he was seized with mad- 
mldness Z and Wlth ness > an( l r U e d on the ground in a fit, foaming at 
the mouth and gnashing his teeth. Finally he expired, 
and his body was thrown into a stagnant pool, while 
the poor woman escaped. 1 
one of William On another occasion one of the Conqueror's Norman 

the Conqueror's . . . 

followers seizes followers, expecting the same impunity tor lawlessness 

a manor belong- 

EcfmuPd' as k* s comra des in the rest of England, unjustly 
annexed a manor which belonged to St. Edmund. 
The abbot and monks protested. " With unbridled 
tongue," the insolent Norman answers " that he knows 
not what the sleeping Edmund will do with the land ; 
that it will be far more useful to him than to monk 
or martyr." A few days after a white tumour of the 

ftns upon 'him 6 s i ze f a pea suddenly grew on the pupil of his right 
eye, and there it remained. At the instance of his 
friends rather than of his own free will, he sent 
a large wax candle as an offering to the martyr. 

ewMHebreaks -^ ut ^he samts by the power of God sometimes see 
into pieces. the inmost } iearfc O f mail> an( j God an( j g t- Edmund 

refused the light which an evil mind and an un- 
repentant heart had lighted. The taper, an eye- 
witness relates, fell to the ground and broke into 

1 Samson adds that his ghost troubled the neighbourhood and 
was with difficulty laid. 


nine pieces. " Iniquorum dona non probat Altissimus," 
concludes Herman ; " The Most High approveth not 
the gifts of the wicked." l 

An incident of a similar kind is related to have The attempt of 

Robert de 

occurred in the first year of the reign of William curzun.A.D.ios?, 

Eufus. 2 Robert de Curzuu prevailed on Roger Bigot, 

sheriff of Norfolk, to let him seize upon the saint's 

manor of South wold, 3 which, he said, was in the centre 

of his domain. When, however, he rode with his TO seize the 

saint's manor 

followers to take possession, a storm of wind and hail of soutimoid. 
accompanied by thunder and lightning raged with 
such violence that he believed it to be supernatural, 
and, dreading what might happen, he desisted. But 
two of his men, Turold, his dapifer, and Gyrenew de TWO followers 
Mouneyn, persevered in the unjust proceeding and lost struck mad. 
their reason. 4 So far Herman ; Samson adds that 
William de Curzun, a successor of Robert, in the woiiamde 

Curzun, a 

fourteenth year of the reign of Henry II., renewed successor 

of Robert, 

the claim on Southwold, through Richard, archdeacon at" e e ,^ s t the 
of Poictiers, 5 at whose representation the king granted A-D- Hti8- 
a mandate for its surrender. William at once pro- 
ceeded to the abbey armed with the royal letters, and 
demanded their execution. Abbot Hugh naturally 
requested a short delay. Then we have a picture of 
the baffled noble hurrying to London to recount how 
another priest, like Archbishop Thomas, is defying 
the royal will, and of the prior despatched to court 

1 Ecclus. xxxiv. 23. - The Bodl. MS. dates this incident 1087. 

3 On the coast of Suffolk. Its church is named after St. Edmund 
to this day. 

4 The Bodleian MS. 240 adds that Roger Bigot about the year 
1107, claiming another farm of St. Edmund's, and being about 
to bring an action against Abbot Roger, died very suddenly, his 
body being afterwards taken to Norwich and buried by Bishop 

5 One of the most astute supporters of Henry II. against St. 
Thomas a Becket, by whom he was excommunicated in 1166. 


by the abbot to represent the monks' side. Arch- 
deacon Richard tries the case and, mirdbile dictu I 
grants a delay till the Nativity of St. John the 
Baptist ; it was then Whitweek. The prior returns 
home, and on the same day William leaves London to 
be ready to seize Southwold. But at the hospice at 
Sen m ddenly Chelmsford he was suddenly taken ill. He prosecuted 
his journey on the morrow as far as Colchester Abbey, 
where the monks received him a raving maniac. His 
attendants and even his own wife, horror-struck, 
abandoned him. So he remained "pauno involutus" 
bound and bandaged, yet kept under restraint with 
the greatest difficulty. On the news reaching the 
abbot's ears, he sent the prior to exhort the wretched 
man to desist from his robbery; but he had lost all 
memory. Then straightway Richard, one of his 
attendants, stepped forward and promised to go bail 
for his master, if only St. Edmund would take pity 
on him. That night the madman's rabies subsided, 
and, before the prior left next day, he had returned 

claim. 0118 to his right mind, abandoned his claim and vowed 
himself a devout servant of St. Edmund for the 
remainder of his life. 

Prince Eustace The example of Eustace, son of King Stephen, is 

despoils the . 

martyr's lands, more striking and better known than any of the above 

A.D. 1153. 

narratives. In the time of Abbot Ording, A.D. 1153, 
just after the succession to the throne had been settled 
in favour of Prince Henry, and peace at last established, 
Eustace came to St. Edmund's Bury. " He was angry 
with his father," writes Stowe, who summarises the 
incident, " for agreeing to this peace, and therefore in 
a rage he departed from the court towards Cambridge, 
to destroy that country. Coming to St. Edmund's 
Bury, he was there honourably received and feasted, 
but when he could not have such money as he 
demanded to bestow among his men of war, he went 


away in a rage, spoiling the corn in the fields belonging 

to the abbey, and carrying it into the castles thereby ; 

but, as he sat down to dinner, he fell mad upon receiv- a n e cuxpires. ma 

ing the first morsel, and miserably died, and was buried 

at Feversham." 1 

Here is a curious story of a thief told by Gerald A story by 

Gerald Cam- 

Cambrerisis, who affirms that it happened in his own trensis 

day, about ten years before the death of Abbot Samson. 

A wretched woman was wont to visit the shrine of 

St. Edmund, not to make offerings herself, but to 

steal what was offered by others. With pretence 

of great devotion she would bow down and kiss of a woman who 

stole at the 

the iron plate before the shrine on which devout shrine 
persons usually placed silver and gold, and while 
kissing would take up the offerings with her mouth 
and carry them away. She committed this sacri- A nd was axed 
lege once too often, for her lips and tongue one 
day stuck firm and fast to the table, while the 
money she had licked up fell out of her mouth. 
Christians and Jews ran to witness this spectacle, 
for through the whole day the woman continued 
with her lips fastened to the table a wholesome 
punishment and indeed a kindness, for the saint thus put 
an end to the poor woman's propensity for stealing. 2 

The anger of the martyr at the invasion of his Bishop Herfast 

. i-i impugns the 

rights was not only incurred by rough warriors and jurisdiction ot 

the abbey, 

silly women, but by pious ecclesiastics. The punish- A - D - 107 - 
merit of Bishop Herfast supplies an interesting and 

1 Quoted by Cressy. 

2 The Bodl. MS. 297 mentions the similar case of a Fleming ap- 
proaching the feretry under pretext of devotion and trying to bite 
away a gold piece attached to it. His teeth are glued to the 
coin, and he cannot stir. He confesses his act and is set free. 
(See Appendix B of " Memorials of St. Edmund's Abbey," vol. i.) 
MS. Bodl. 240 has also a paragraph " De ultione capta super 
quendam prsedatorem, rapientem pavonem de dominio S. Ed- 


historical illustration. He was a " major persona 
nostris temporibus " a rather important personage in 
our time, writes his archdeacon, Herman. Herfast 
was elevated to the see of Elmham in 1070, but 
removed it to Thetford, and further announced his 
intention of finally establishing it at St. Edmund's 
Bury. This transfer would have ruined the immuni- 
ties and privileges of the abbey, and the alarmed 
monks at once took speedy and energetic measures 
to hinder the bishop from carrying out his design. 
To give colour to his pretensions Herfast obtained 
the king's licence to claim an old crozier kept in 
the monastery, and, unable to obtain it by other means, 
he bribed some one to bring it to him. He considered 

He takes a the presence of the crozier in the abbey sufficient 
proof that his predecessors exercised jurisdiction over 
the monks of St. Edmund. Abbot Baldwin at once 
applied for protection to Pope Alexander II., who 
received him honourably and ordained him priest. 
Lari franc and Thomas of York were then in Eome, 
which gave greater weight to the decision of the 
Apostolic See confirming all the privileges and ex- 
emptions granted to the monastery by Bishop Ailwin 
and King Canute. On Baldwin's return from Eome 
Herfast refused to submit to the papal decree on 
the plea that the appeal had been made without his 
permission, and he still more strenuously prosecuted 
his design, directing his archdeacon to write letters 
for him to king and Pope. But one day, " as the 
bishop was riding through a wood," writes his 
archdeacon, "and conversing on the injury which 

His chastise- he meditated against the monastery, a branch struck 


him in the face so violently that the eyes were suffused 
with blood and eventually became sightless : Sancti 
effectualis ultio an effectual punishment from the 
saint." " One morning," continues Herman, " seeing 


him depressed and wretched, for his blindness affected 
his whole body, out of pity I boldly said to him : 
'My Lord Bishop, all your remedies are in vain. 
No collyrium avails ; not even Hippocrates or Gal- 
lienus could help you, unless God have compassion 
on you. Seek the favour of God through St. Edmund. 
Go at once to Abbot Baldwin in humility and peace, 
that God through him may heal you.' He rejected 
this counsel at first, but when we all advised him 
to follow it, he consented. That same day, the feast 
of SS. Simon and Jude, by his commission, I set out 

He repents and 

for the abbey. Abbot Baldwin benignly received me, abandons his 

J f claim, 

and by his leave the sick bishop came with his 
retinue to the abbey. And first the abbot admonished 
him to reflect if he had given any offence to God 
or St. Edmund, for he should get forgiveness of his 
sins before thinking of the application of other 
remedies. In chapter, therefore, which was then held 
in the vestiary of the monastery, in the presence of 
the elder brethren and of the royal barons, Hugh 
de Montfort, Roger Bigot, Eichard, son of Count 
Gislebert, Turold of Lincoln, l Alvered the Spaniard 
and others, the prelate declared the cause of his 
misfortune, confessed his sin and anathematized his 
conduct and all who counselled it. He then advanced 
with sighs and groans to the great altar, laid thereon 
the crozier, which he had caused to be brought from 
Thetford, and, prostrate on the steps of the altar, 
begged pardon of God and St. Edmund. The abbot 
and monks recited over him the seven penitential 
psalms and absolved him." After these spiritual 
remedies the abbot applied those temporal medicines 
in the preparation of which he was so skilled. "By 

T And receives 

frequent fomentations, cauteries and collyriums, back MS sight 

' and health. 

supplemented by the prayers of the monks to God 
1 For Turold of Lincoln see Lingard, vol. i. p. 235, edit. 1854. 


and his martyr Edmund, I saw the bishop regaining 
his health, and at last only a slight obscurity re- 
mained on the pupil of one eye for a sign of his 
audacity. So that on the martyr's feast he preached 
the panegyric." 1 

Afterwards, persuaded by evil counsellors, Herfast 
But afterwards renewed his claim, but when Archbishop Lanfranc 

renewing his . . 

his claim, came down to enquire into it, the aged Abbot ^Elfwm 
gave testimony to the exemptions granted by King 
Canute and Bishop Ailwin and at the same time 
was able to corroborate the story of the burning of 
the house of his father, Eadbright, on occasion of his 
refusing Ailwin and St. Edmund the shelter of a roof, 
a warning to all to take care how they treat St. Edmund 
and his servants. But in spite of evidence to the 
contrary the bishop stubbornly persevered. Abbot 
Baldwin refuted all his assertions in a great court 
of enquiry convened for the purpose in 1181. It 
was all of no use. At last, in a regular trial held 
by the king's order, judgment was given for the 
abbot. The bishop refused to submit and was there- 
He ends his life upon forced to give up ring and crozier, which 
amounted to his practical deposition. He returned 
to his diocese to end his days, a disgraced and dis- 
appointed man. 2 
The punishment Akin to these chastisements of the invaders of 

of the irreverent. ,, , , . ., , 

the royal martyrs privileges and possessions are 
those inflicted on the irreverent. The impetuous 
youth Count Leofstan was struck with madness for 
looking profanely on the saint's face ; a presumptuous 
Dane became blind in St. Gregory's church in London; 
Abbot Leofstan for disrespectfully handling the holy 
body suffered a contraction of the hands to the day 

1 Besides Herman, see " Regist. Rub.," Collect. Buriens., 
p. 330. 

2 Compare the history of Bishop Bateman, p. 262. 


of his death ; Tolinus and his associates died pre- 
maturely for rashly opening the coffin and touching 
the martyr's limbs ; Herman the monk fell sick and 
died after carelessly exhibiting the martyr's garments. 

The case of Osgod-Clapa is a further illustration The story of 


of irreverent conduct towards the saint and its who is chastised 

for his pride, 

penalty. It occurred early one summer when St. A - D - 1 oi4. 
Edward the Confessor was on a visit to the abbey. 
The most conspicuous figure in the royal train both 
by his haughty bearing and gorgeous dress was 
Osgod-Clapa, the master of the horse. l On the 
" Finding of the Holy Cross," which that year 
fell on a Sunday, Osgod, decked out in barbaric 
finery, with golden bracelets on both arms and a 
gilded axe flung over his shoulder, indevoutly entered 
the martyr's church. The bystanders cried out to 
him to lay aside his axe at the door, but he took 
no heed and insolently passed on through the choir 
to the very Holy of Holies ! There he began to 
unfasten his axe, not from reverence, but to lean 
on it, while he considered what to do next, when 
the mighty hand of the saint struck him with mad- 
ness and dashed him against the wall of the basilica 
as one possessed. The people, hearing an uproar, 
crowded to the spot to see this man, " sseculo famosissi- 
mus, sed rebus martyris infestissimus" famous in the 
eyes of the world, but abominable 2 to St. Edmund, 
humiliated in the sight of all. King Edward and 

1 The Worcester Chronicle calls him " Stallere," or master 
of the horse. The sudden death of Hardacnut occurred at the 
feast given by Osgod after the marriage of his daughter Gytha to 
the Danish chieftain Tovi, surnamed the Proud (see Florence of 
Worcester, A. D. 1042). Osgod was a benefactor of the monastery of 
Waltham. In reputation and power, says Samson, he was next to 
the king. He was outlawed in 1046, but returned to England and 
died according to the Saxon Chronicle in 1054. 

2 "Every proud man is an abomination to the Lord." Prov. 
vi. 5. 



He is cured and the monks assembled with him in chapter heard the 


uproar, and on learning its cause made their way 
to the church. There the king turned to Abbot 
Leofstan and said, " Father, it is your duty with 
your monks to supplicate the saint to restore this 
unfortunate man, so that, corrected by this punish- 
ment, he may confess his sins and amend his life." 
Thereupon the monks commenced to recite the psalms 
and litanies, and the abbot read the exorcisms and 
sprinkled the maniac with holy water: but with no effect. 
Thereupon Ailwin, the saint's "chamberlain," recom- 
mended that he should be brought to the martyr's 
tomb. There the brethren, vested in white albs, 
again chant the seven psalms and the litanies over 
him ; and the Dane, coming to himself, acknowledged 
his profanity and in his fervour embraced the shrine. 
" The king and the crowd glorified God, who is wonder- 
ful in His saints and through them works wonderful 
But ins hands things." Osgod repented and corrected his life, but 

remain . . 

withered. his hands remained withered as a perpetual reminder 
that God will not permit any irreverence towards 
His champion Edmund Athleta Edmundus. 

A summary. The Bodleian compilation gives the above and several 

additional " miracles " of the same character, l showing 

1 Thus fol. 633: "De muliere liberata et vicecomite punito. 
De quodam Leofstano punito, &c. Qualiter Theodredus epc. fecit 
suspend! latrones,"&c. ; fol. 634 : "De Daco crecitate punito, " &c. ; 
fol. 636: " De interfectione regis Swani per sctum Edm.;" fol. 
640 : " Qnaliter Osgothi Daci superbia punitasit ; " fol. 643 : " De 
ultione facta in Erfastum epc. per sanctum Edmundum;" fol. 
645 : " De quodam milite demoniaco rapiente quoddam manerium 
de Scto Edm. ; " fol. 646 : " De ultione facta in pervasores rerum 
suarum;" fol. 650: " De incorruptione Scl Edm. et de ultione 
facta in Tolinum monachum palpantem et videntem corpus Scl 
Edm. incorruptum ; " fol. 651 : "De ultione facta in Hermanum 
monachum explicantem camisiam Scl Edm. et ostendentem populo 
ad osculandum ;" fol. 653: "De ultione facta in latronem rapien- 
tem de feretro Sci Edm.;" fol. 654: "De ultione sumpta in 


that kings like Sweyn and Edward L, petty thieves 
and great barons, soldiers and civilians, judges and 
royal justiciaries were punished without distinction for 
sacrilegious attempts against St. Edmund's church, 
so that all classes feared to wrongfully attack its 
privileges and possessions, or to treat with irreverence 
the martyr and his servants. 

The punishments inflicted on evil-doers are more continuity or 

the miracles. 

than counterbalanced by the graces and blessings 
which the royal saint gained for devout suppliants. 
Scattered over a period of a thousand years, these 
favours have continued to the present day and may 
be said to be countless. The records of some hundreds 
still exist, having survived the sixteenth century wreck 
of the monastic libraries and their invaluable treasures. 
The Wainflete Register brings the miracles down to 

o o 

1374-75. Lydgate recounts one as happening on 
April 20, 1441. The archives of Toulouse chronicle 
the cessation of the plague and the cure of the 
fever-stricken in 1631, while at St. Edmund's Wells 
at Hunstanton an extraordinary if not miraculous cure 
in 1864 rewarded the faith of a young girl who 
bathed there. The miracles of which the details exist 
are, however, few compared with the period over 
which they extend, and of these few only the following 
selections in addition to those related in the body of 
the work will be given to illustrate their general 

Eustachium filium Regis Stephani, &c. J)e 'ultione sunipta in 
Henricura de Essexia. De ultione snnipta in Willielmum de 
Curzun ; " fol. 661 : " De ultione facta pro festo Scl Edm. non 
observato;" fol. 663: " De ultione facta super quendam praedi- 
torem rapientem pavonem de dominio Scl Edm. ; " fol. 667 : " De 
quodam blaspheme punito ; " fol. 668: " Quomodo S. Edm. 
terruit comitem Lincolnie, &c. ;" fol. 669: "De ultione facta 
super Dominum Johannem de Bello monte, militem. De ultione 
facta super Willielrnum de Gillingham justiciarium regis." 



The glory of 
St. Edmund 
attested by 
wrought at 
his tomb. 

A dumb girl 
cured about 
A.D. 1095. 

The blind son 
Knight Yvo, 
A.D. 1088, 

The cures wrought under the very shadow of the 
shrine naturally hold the first rank. Within the holy 
and mellowed light which the ever burning tapers for 
seven hundred years shed around that hallowed 
sepulchre, the crippled and maimed left their 
crutches, the blind received their sight, the dumb 
learned to speak, the sick recovered health, the dead 
were restored to life. Wherever St. Edmund's body 
went, its miraculous power followed it. When Ailwin 
entered London, nineteen cures took place. They were 
of daily occurrence in St. Gregory's church, and the 
cure of the Lord of Stapleford is only one of many 
which happened on the way back to Beodricsworth. 
Once the holy body was in its own church, the guar- 
dians of the shrine could commit to writing the circum- 
stantial details which made such miracles a picture 
of the times. They could describe for instance the 
dumb woman, ^Elfgeth of Winchester, who. in the 
time of Abbot Leofstan, received the gift of speech, 
and would never afterwards leave St. Edmund's shrine, 
but spent her life cleaning the church and tending the 

In the same manner through the monk Tolinus, 
a " vir bonus et religiosus," who ascertained the facts, 
they could chronicle the cure of a poor girl, the 
servant of a lady in Essex, who had been dumb 
for three years. Her mistress brought her at last 
on a pilgrimage to the shrine, and, while praying 
there, the girl suddenly exclaimed : " My lady ! my 
lady ! behold I can speak." This cure took place on 
the eve of the feast of the Seven Martyrs. 
of Edmund, the son of Yvo, one of the knights of 
William Eufus, had been struck with blindness for 
using profane language, it appears, regarding the 
saint. " Verrucse concrete, rufae atque pillosae," red 
warty substances covered with hair had strangely 


grown about the eyes. Before starting for the Scotch 
war, Yvo ordered his son to be taken to the saint's 
shrine. For fifteen days the boy tarried at the church 
of Binneham with the monk Herman, l whose acolyte 
and scholar he was. Then in spite of the boy's un- In spite of the 

monk Herman, 

willingness and his tutor's protest the uncle and step- takenVo'tife 
mother took him to St. Edmund's shrine, where they shnne> 
arrived on the eve of the martyr's feast. As they 
keep watch near the holy body, the boy falls asleep, 
and in that sweet sleep, before the bells for matins 
chime, the heavenly power of St. Edmund heals 
him, by mercifully drawing from his eyes the blinding 
excrescence, and on waking he sees the lights around And receives his 
the shi'ine. The news of the miracle soon spread, and 
after the gospel of the high mass a sermon was 
preached, and thanksgiving made to God and St. 
Edmund by the multitude with the boy standing in 
their midst. 

On the Nativity of the ever glorious Virgin, William Adnidofthree 
of Colchester's little girl was similarly cured. On cured of wind- 

ness, A. D. 1088. 

the eve of the festival her father sent the child, who 
had been blind for five weeks, in charge of its nurse, 
to St. Edmund, and the next day it recovered its 
sight. After the solemn mass the monks sang the 
"Te Deum" with the child standing before the altar. 

On the feast of St. John the Baptist in the year of The cure of a 

, . l ame gif'i A - D - 

Abbot Baldwin s translation a poor lame girl on 1095. 
crutches came to the saint with her relations, and she 
left her crutches with him for a testimony of her cure. 

On the martyr's festival the same year a blind girl A wind girl 

. i T i i j " amed Lyeveva 

named Lyeveva received her sight, which she had has her sight 


lost a year before by an accident. Her relatives and 
fellow-townsmen came with her on pilgrimage. " We 
saw her prostrate in the new presbytery on the eve 

1 A different personage from Archdeacon Herman, who relates 
the incident after hearing the evidence of his repentant namesake. 


of the feast, when at the ' Magnificat ' we proceeded 
with our venerable Abbot Baldwin to incense the 
Holy of Holies." She spent the night in prayer, and 
the evening of the feast during vespers she regained 
her sight. She assisted at high mass the next day, 
and after a sermon the " Te Deum " was sung. 
A woman who Another woman from Winchester, who had been 

had been blind 

thirty-two years thirty-two years blind, hearing of the glorious series 

is cured. J J 

of miracles at St. Edmund's Bury, begged her daughter 
to lead her thither. After keeping vigil, she was, next 
morning, between matins and lauds, blessed with 

A priest named Odo had in his service a house- 

housekeeper of 

odo the priest, keeper, by name Brichtiva, who looked after his 
scholars with all the devotion of a mother. After 
many years' service she became bedridden through 

Bedridden for a contraction of the nerves of both legs. For seven 

seven years, 

years she lay in this state, till, seized by a sudden 
inspiration, she said to her master : " Sir, remember 
the long and devoted service of thy handmaid, and in 
thy charity grant me this favour. Have me placed 
on some vehicle and carried to St. Edmund's basilica, 
for surely the gate of mercy which admits all will not 
be shut to me if I knock." Accordingly she was 
carried to the church, and crept to the altar, to which 
she held fast with her hands. It was the vigil of the 
on June 23rd Precursor of Christ, at whose nativity, according to 
the inspired prophecy, " many shall rejoice." ] While 
the alternate choirs sang the " Magnificat " at vespers, 
the prior ascended the altar to incense it, when to his 
astonishment he saw the woman, whom a little time 
Recovers in st. before he had condoled with in her affliction, standing 
church? 8 erect with a crowd of people round her. The prior, 
to ascertain the truth, with a loud voice asked if any 
one knew her. Not one or two, but many who knew 

' St. Luke i. 14. 


her master, testified to her previous helpless condition. AS many testify. 
But Brichtiva ever cherished in her heart the memory 
of St. Edmund, and never ceased to praise him to the 
end of her days. 

In the reign of Henry I. a girl from Clare in Essex, A 

is cured, A.D. 

born without the use of arms or legs, was brought by 1100-1135. 
her relations to the church " pretiosi regis JEdmundi/' 
and was restored whole and sound to her parents. 
" Eadulf the monk l saw it with his own eyes," writes 
the chronicler ; " he who devoutly guarded the royal 
tomb mausoleum regis for years, and accurately 
narrated the wonders which he saw." " Sic operatur 
dilectus noster et princeps ^Edmundus, candidus et 
rubicundus ; quern et nivea integritas induit virginei 
corporis, et rosea circumdat laurea pretiosse passionis. " 
" So worketh our beloved prince Edmund, the fair and 
ruddy one ; ivlwse robe is the snoiv-white integrity of 
his virginal body, whose crown is the rose-wreath of 
his precious passion" 

From every part of the country sick of both other miracles 
sexes and of every age visited the shrine and received 
their health. At one time a girl from Spalding is 
healed. At another, a paralytic farmer from Rutland 
in the diocese of Lincoln, who in his days of health 
was a frequent and devout pilgrim to the martyr's 
church, is brought there by his friends and returns 
home upright and whole, after giving the animal which 
carried him to the monks. Now a monk of Shrewsbury 
gets his health. Now an old blind man from Northum- 
berland joins a party of pilgrims, and, coming within 
sight of the high bell-tower of the abbey-church, kneels 
down to pray with the rest ; he thereupon recovers his 
sight and leads the pilgrimage into the town. Again, 
a certain Matilda belonging to London lays her little 
dying son at the foot of the shrine, and he recovers. 
1 For the history of this Radulf , see note, p. 302. 



Miracles at a 
distance from 
the shrine. 

At Lucca ; 
Hereford ; 

Canterbury ; 
Acre, 1100 ; 

Chichester ; 

Evesham ; 

Northampton : 

Swineshead ; 

From these graphic and touching scenes around 
the shrine we turn to others at a distance, in 
England or abroad. For instance, at Lucca a rich 
man's little boy is cured; at Hereford Eobert of 
Haseley, a canon, recovers from a quartan ague. 
In another part of the country a soldier and his 
wife vow their dying boy to God and St. Edmund, 
and he revives and lives. The same happens in the 
case of the son of one Henry, a knight of Canterbury, 
and also in that of the son of William de Bealver. 
A soldier at the siege of Acre during the crusade 
of Richard I., afflicted with all the symptoms of 
black death, begs the intercession of the glorious 
martyr aud suddenly grows better. A cleric at 
Chichester, working in the roof of the cathedral, 
falls from a height of forty-seven feet to the ground. 
He calls upon St. Edmund, whose feast it is, and 
receives but little hurt. An Evesham monk, on 
seeking the intercession of the martyr, is marvellously 
cured of a painful disease. A young man from Shimp- 
ling taken in war, tortured and loaded with chains, 
on invoking St. Edmund and St. Nicholas is set 
free. A miller at Warkton, l unjustly thrown into 
the dungeons of Northampton Castle with nineteen 
others, cries to St. Edmund ; the shackles fall from 
his feet, and, rising up, he makes for the church 
of St. Edmund in that town, the four guards, helpless, 
allowing him to pass. Similarly the bailiff of Eobert 
de Gresley, whom his master had thrown into prison 
at Swineshead, with tears and groans implores 
St. Edmund and St. Etheldreda to deliver him from 
his bonds ; and St. Edmund, appearing to him, sets 

] Or Wereketon, a village near Kettering in Northamptonshire. 
Queen Matilda, the wife of the Conqueror, gave its manor to St. 
Edmund's Abbey towards the building of the great church. 


him free. Whereupon he makes a pilgrimage to 
the shrine to return thanks. 

Among the miracles which thus took place outside The waiufleet 
the precincts of the martyr's sanctuary, come the "" 
seventeen recorded in the Wainfleet register. After 
the narration of " How the ruined chapel of Wain- 
fleet was repaired by reason of a revelation from 
St. Edmund," the chronicler describes among other 
incidents the restoration to life of a dead girl and 
of two drowned children ; the cure of four cripples 
and two blind persons ; several rescues from ship- 
wreck, and the release of six pilgrims in Spain from 
prison and chains. 

Similar miracles were registered in a certain chapel The Lynn 
of St. Edmund at Lynn. Special interest centres 
round King's Lynn. According to Camden, St. 
Edmund landed there before proceeding to Hun- 
stanton. No doubt its connection with the gentle 
and saintly king dates from an early period, as 
its name, its ancient and venerable chapel to his 
memory, and the miracles which took place there, 
testify. In this sanctuary, among other favours granted 
through the intercession of St. Edmund, it is averred 
that three dead men were raised to life, and several 
blind and dumb people, as well as cripples, were cured. 

Instances of the protection afforded to St. Edmund's on the high seas 
suppliants on the high seas are strikingly numerous protects his 

. suppliants. 

in all the lists of miracles. They were of the utmost 
interest to seafaring Englishmen generally, and 
especially to the men of Norfolk and Suffolk with 
their long sea-board. Hence the careful registry 
of them in the monastic books. Herman's Book 
of Miracles breaks off abruptly in the midst of a 
narrative of this kind, in which he describes some 
pilgrims returning by sea from Rome on the Friday Some P'^ 1 '' 1 "* 

J returning by sea 

before the Rogation days, May 15, 1095. Samson I 1 * 8 ' 


finishes the story. The ship had sixty-four souls 
on board and a cargo of precious objects from the 

s Xwre d c a k gerofEternal Cit 7- Iu mid-ocean the vessel sprang a 
leak, and the hold quickly filled with water, which 
rose higher and higher in spite of energetic and 
continuous pumping. In despair sailors and passengers 
prepared for death. Then Wulfward, the priest, 
and Robert, both of St. Edmund's, remembering the 
great power of their patron, asking for silence, thus 
addressed their comrades : " Men, brethren ! Why 
give way to despair ? Who does not know our St. 
Edmund ? The fame of his virtues extends over 
land and sea. Who has ever sought protection under 

They invoke his wings and been repulsed ? Let us each and 

St. Edmund, r 

all call upon him in this hour of danger after first 
making an offering for his shrine." The advice 
was taken. Then from the silent ocean the cry 
went up to heaven : " Sancte ^Edmunde, libera nos." 
To the joy and astonishment of all, the water in 
the hold suddenly began to subside, and the sails 
began to fill with wind ; and " felix carina feliciter 
And are saved. ce P^ velificare," the ship, happily saved from de- 
struction, began once more to merrily plough the 
billows. On reaching port, Wulfward and Robert, 
commissioned by their fellow-passengers, carried 
the offering to St. Edmund's monastery, and there 
related the history of their marvellous preservation. 
The narrative of Lambert, abbot of St. Nicholas,' Angers, used 
Angevin abbot, i to relate how on one of his many visits to the 
tomb of the renowned king and martyr the com- 
munity asked him the reason of his singular devotion 
to St. Edmund, and he answered them : " Beloved 
brethren, St. Edmund king and martyr is deservedly 
considered our father as well as patron of England* 
as the following story will testify: 
1 " Relatio Domni Lambert! Abbatis." 


" One winter, although we had most pressing business 
to transact, the intense cold and the tempestuous 
sea delayed us several days at Barfleur. Most who, being 

wind-bound at 

earnestly we prayed to many saints, not forgetting Bai-neur, 
our own St. Nicholas. One afternoon, as we spoke 
of the merits and powers of different saints, Natalis, 
an old monk of ours, who had honourably worn the 
religious habit for well nigh fifty years, asked if 
we would take his advice in order to get a secure 
and speedy voyage. We eagerly professed our willing- 
ness to do so. ' Promise,' he said, ' to the glorious and 

Made a vow to 

blessed Edmund, the martyr-king of the English, that, st - Edmund > 
your request granted, you will go and return thanks 
in his church and in future regard him as his own 
household does.' l To our criticisms on this he 
answered : To pray to St. Edmund, known to be so 
powerful in England, would spread his glory in Europe, 
and be no disparagement to our patron, St. Nicholas, 
whom all the world invokes in danger and distress. 
Thereupon we earnestly besought St. Edmund, 
and, confidently embarking that evening, reached And afterward3 
Southampton harbour at nine o'clock next day, having port. yre 
crossed the channel in the incredible space of ten 
hours. Not unmindful of our promise, we came to 
blessed Edmund's church to fulfil our vows. This 
was the beginning of our love and devotion towards 
the most holy Edmund." 

While Abbot Lambert told his story, three men Three pilgrims 

in the church 

from London, Hervey, Yvo, and another, were pay ing j^. 8 similar 
their devotions at the shrine. They afterwards des- 
cribed how, being wind-bound on a voyage to St. 
Gilles, 2 they implored the martyr's help, and a 
pleasant breeze quickly brought them to port. The 

1 "Familia." 

2 St. Gilles, on the Little Rhone below Aries. Its abbey-church 
even in its present ruin is a work of great splendour. 


chronicler, admiring their faith, promised to put 
their tale on record, and so it reaches us. 

Three mariners Radulph the monk, while assiduously performing 
shTppinfaUhe his duties at the shrine, saw three other men 

shrine in IP i t 

prostrate before it and fervently kissing the very 
stones on which it rested. Rising from their prayers, 
Edmtuidsami ^ nev ^^ n ^ m now their ship was nearly foundering 
shipwreck. in a violent storm which lasted three days, till 
they all cried to St. Edmund, " sancte rex et 
martyr ^Edmunde ! potens et benigne princeps, 
nobis auxilium tuse pietatis porrige ! insignis tri- 
umphator ^Edmunde ! "- " holy king and martyr Ed- 
mund ! mighty and benignant prince, stretch forth 
thy kind helping hand ! triumphant Edmund ! " 
And behold the storm abated, and they reached port 
in safety. 
A. cleric from ^ cleric from Lichfield, coming to return thanks 

Lichfield tells 

savi hiS l fZ\ d to St Edmund, declared to the monks in chapter 
that, on his going to Jerusalem, the ship in which 
he sailed was wrecked in a great storm. Struggling 
for life in the boiling sea, he invoked St. Edmund, 
and, as it is recorded of the blessed confessor St. 
Nicholas that he is present to sailors who call upon 
him, so the glorious martyr Edmund came to him, and, 
seizing him by the hair, brought him to land. With 
grateful tears the cleric asked his rescuer's name. 
" I am Edmund, whose help you implored," answered 
the vision and disappeared. 

other instances On another occasion some Dunwich fishermen 

of a similar kind. 

came to hang up an anchor of wax before the 
shrine in thanksgiving to St. Edmund, whom they 
had invoked in a storm. Again, three men cast on 
a sand-bank in a wreck were marvellously saved 
after invoking the royal martyr. So also were a 
Norfolk man and his wife. 

Conspicuous among these and many other instances 


of St. Edmund's protection of the shipwrecked and The story of 
drowning is the case of Henry I. In 1132 Henry, 
after his interview with Pope Innocent II., left 
Chartres for England. On the passage a violent 
storm arose, which threatened the utter destruction 
of vessel and crew. The king, fearing with reason 
that it was a visitation of God upon him, made 
solemn vows of reformation and amendment, at the 
same time calling upon St. Edmund to help him. 
On the ship's arriving safe in port, Henry set out 
on a pilgrimage of thanksgiving to St. Edmund's 

Passing to another class of favours, we find St. y t . Edmund the 
Edmund invoked by our forefathers, very much as EngUmd. ny 
St. Antony of Padua is to-day, for things that are 
lost. For instance, Abbot Baldwin's messenger, 
Norman, when his luggage had been stolen at Barfleur, 
recovered it in a surprising manner after praying 
to St. Edmund. The martyr restored to Warner, 
abbot of Rebaix, a relic which he had lost. Some 
horses taken away from the monastery were 
miraculously brought back, an incident which the 
monks carved over the abbot's stall in the choir 
of the great church, giving its history underneath 
in four lines of verse. l 

Again one 20th of November, the festival of St. Deorman, a 
Edmund, Deorman, a rich London merchant, who merchant, 
exposed his silks and spices in the town for sale, 
went into the basilica to pray at the shrine. While 
prostrate there, a woman cut away the bag which i s robbed at the 
contained his money and jewels, so that when he 
prepared to make his offering he found nothing to 
give. Then, turning to the saint, he expostulated. 
" I came, holy prince," he said, " into your house 
to pray ; and why have you allowed impious hands 
1 Bodl. MS. 240 f. 667. 


to rob me ? Surely my possessions ought to be 

itting e wmfthe secure here ! " Going out at the church-door, he 

eo^eVhis 16 ' unawares put his hands on a woman in the crowd, 

who at once fell on her knees, and, handing back 

his bag and its untouched contents, begged him not 

to expose her. Letting the thief go free, he re-entered 

the church to give thanks to God and St. Edmund, 

Afterwards he became a monk and lived holily many 

years in the monastery. 

TWO other Again, a knight of Copeland beyond York, who 

owned farms in East Anglia, sent his servant to 
collect the rents. The servant lost the money, but 
after invoking St. Edmund found it again. Some 
fishermen, having lost their nets, prayed to St. Edmund 
and they miraculously recovered them. 

spiritual graces. These temporal favours are eclipsed by the spiritual 
graces which the royal martyr dispensed with lavish 
hand. Often he gave them as well as corporal 
health, as in the case of William de Curzun, Bishop 
Herfast and others, but still more frequently by 
themselves. A wicked squire, moved by the healing 
of a rich lady whom he had accompanied to St. 
Edmund's church, confessed his sins and received 
from the martyr health of soul and body. A wealthy 
knight, in despair of salvation by reason of a vice 
which had enslaved him, resorted to St. Edmund, 
prayed before the shrine, and, confessing his guilt, 
was freed from temptation. A licentious ecclesiastic 
from the diocese of Chichester was likewise converted 
through the invocation of St. Edmund. 

visions of the Both spiritual and temporal graces were sometimes 
mt> accompanied by a vision of the saint. In their 

invocations our ancestors coupled St. Edmund with 
St. Nicholas, St. Etheldreda, or St. Thomas of Canter- 
in company bury, and on two occasions, at least, the royal 

with St. Thomas i , > , i i . 

of canterbury, martyr is related to have appeared in company 


witli St. Thomas : once after the battle of Fornham 
in the reign of Henry II., when the two martyrs 
liberated some prisoners of war ; and again to a 
certain Earl Simon, their devout client, to console 
him for the death of an only son, whom they 
pointed out to him in heaven. l 

These apparitions show the sympathy which Their meaning, 
medieval writers believed the saint to have with 
those on earth in sorrow and difficulty. Unbelievers 
may consider them dreams only ; yet they prove 
what a reality the martyr's power and presence 
were in the minds of the people. And while re- 
vealing our ancestors' deep sense of St. Edmund's 
solicitude for their welfare, 2 they throw a special 
heavenly and supernatural light over the history 
of many of the royal martyr's devoted servants, like 
Ailwin and Abbot Samson. 

The most beautiful and touching scenes are por- The vision of st. 

i L- -ii i.i mi Edmund, 

trayed in connection with these visions. The cure 
of the poor crippled woman who, in the reign of 
the Confessor, sat begging at the porch of the great 
church, is a case in point. Her legs hung withered 
and useless on her body. Sitting on a little stool 
and with smaller stools in her hands, she moved 
about with great exertion, and thus often approached 
the shrine asking for her cure. Night and day 
she remained in the church, for, like the infirm 
man at the pool at Bethsaida, she had no one to 
take care of her. At eventide, when others went 

1 Bodl. 2401.663. 

2 E.g. St. Edmund appears to a peasant of Exming, a village on 
the Suffolk border of Cambridgeshire, and reveals his wish to see 
a road made for the benefit of pilgrims from St. Ethelreda's, Ely, 
to St. Edmund's Bury ; and the monks constructed Soham cause- 
way in consequence (Bodl. 240 f. 662). " Hajc niagna et mirabilia 
dignatus est in parvis facere Maximus in S. Edmundi favorem, ut 
ostendat qualis gratife sit apud eum etiam in magnis. " 



away, she, poor and neglected, slept inside the western 

tiie f cii ec ied eof ^ oor ' ^ ne n %^ lt a pi us matron of Essex named 
woman. ^Ifweve, keeping vigil at the shrine, praying out 

the candle which she held in her hand, saw a 
man venerable of countenance and clothed in dazzling 
and shining robes issue from the precincts of the 
shrine, and glide through the lines of stalls in 
the choir and down the long nave, his bright- 
ness throwing the shadows of the lines of pillars 
into the aisles. Arriving at the western doors, the 
vision paused, benignly regarded the sleeping cripple, 
as SS. Peter and John did the beggar at the Beautiful 
Gate of the Temple, and, standing, signed the sleeping 
woman with the sign of the cross from head to 
foot. Then the heavenly visitor returned whence he 
came, shining like the sun in the darkness. But 
by that saving sign he had restored to the crippled 
woman the nerves and members lost for so many 
years. ^Elfweve looked on in ecstasy. The infirm 
woman, waking up, made the vast and silent church 
echo with her cries. She skipped and danced and 
and wept, praising God. Meanwhile the " faithful 
monk," Bmnstan, the keeper of the shrine, who 
slept in the church, thinking that robbers had 
broken in, ran to the cortina, 1 only to find its 
gates locked as he left them, and the woman 
whom he had seen a cripple praising God and 
St. Edmund. Just then the bells rang to assem- 
ble the monks for matins. After matins the miracle 
became public. Brother Brunstan gave evidence > 
as did the matron ^Elfweve and the crippled 
woman. So the bells were rung, and the alternate 
choirs sang lauds to Him " who is wonderful in His 
saints, and renders them wonderful on earth, that 
all may know how great glory they enjoy in heaven." 
1 A railing round the shrine. 

The matron 
jElfweve from 

And the monk 
Brunstan con- 
firm it. 


St. Edmund, luminous in the darkness, traversing 
the long nave, healing the crippled beggar lying in 
poverty and loneliness at the church-porch the sleeping 
keeper the watching matron and, matins over, the 
monks crowding round the cured woman the bells 
ringing and the thanksgiving sung behold a picture 
earthly yet unearthly ! 

One of these visions, glimpses of heaven, accom- 


panied the cure of the Frenchman William, son of consumed wi 
Asketil, of the county of Hereford. Fever and racking 
pains had already deprived him of the use of his 
limbs, when he heard of the fame of St. Edmund 
and asked to be carried to his tomb. There he made 
his offering and prayed to the saint for a cure. 
When his attendants carried him on his litter from 
the church back to the hospice, they momentarily 
expected him to breathe his last. A thousand fevers 
seemed to consume him, his eyes stood fixed and 
staring as if he was in the last agony. 

About mid-day the bystanders heard him conversing is cured in a 

vision of the 

with some one. As he related afterwards, he spoke to a saint. 
man of medium stature, in the bloom of youth, very 
noble in appearance and of kingly dignity and attire, 
who stood at his side and, touching him with a rod, 
asked why he lay there. The sick man answered, 
" Consumed with fever and loaded with infirmity, 
I am seeking a cure from St. Edmund." His attendants 
thought him delirious. The heavenly visitor asked, 
" Do you believe that he can give what you ask ? " 
" Without doubt, I believe," the dying man replied. 
" Arise then safe and sound," the vision commanded, 
" and rejoicing, mount your horse and return home." 
The sick man enquired who thus, like to our Saviour 
in the gospel, bade him arise and walk. " I am 
Edmund, the servant of Jesus Christ," the saint 
replied. " Get up, and hastening home with your 



The story of 

Who sees a 
vision of the 

servants, tell what great things the Almighty has 
done for you." Those around during all this time 
heard but saw nothing. The sick man, at once rising 
up, ate and drank at a banquet with his friends, 
and after making a suitable thank-offering in the 
church, returned home, proclaiming the name and 
power of St. Edmund in town and country, affirming 
that he had seen him and spoken with him face 
to face. 

A similar and not less graphic incident, " which," 
says Herman, " we know to be true, because it 
came under our own observation," is told of Wulinar, 
an honest burgess of the town, who after a pilgrimage 
to Eome placed an offering on the " marble and cry- 
stal altar " in thanksgiving for a safe return. Leaving 
the church one Sunday evening, Wulmar fell down 
in a fit and was carried home insensible. For four 
days he lay paralysed and helpless. On Friday his 
friends summoned Goding the parish-priest, who, 
" coming with his scholars," administered the Viaticum. 
All that day and the three following, the sick man 
lay with eyes closed and limbs cold and stiff, as though 
dead, except for his breathing. The next day, Tuesday, 
was a festival the translation of blessed Edmund 
by Abbot Leofstan, and our protector chose that 
day to manifest his power. After midnight, as the 
bells chimed for the matins of the feast, the dying 
man fell into a sweet sleep, in which he saw as 
though with his real eyes the door of his room open 
and a bright cloud like a dove enter, which, 
approaching, grew larger as he gazed, till the vision 
of a man of fair and dazzling form stood beside 
him. The vision touched his eyes as if to open them, 
saying, " Fear nothing ; you shall know the great mercy 
of God. Now you are whole, go to the festival in 
the church and give thanks to your Saviour." " But 


who art them ? " asked the sick man. " I am Edmund, 
the servant of the Eternal King," answered the vision, 
gradually fading away as it had come. Wulmar, to 
the amazement of his attendants, arose at once, clothed 

And recovers 

himself and walked to church, where he offered to llis health, 
the martyr four crystals which he had brought 
from Rome, as a perpetual memorial of his vision 
and cure. Then, calling Brother Tolinus, he told 
him all. Abbot Baldwin, informed of the incident, 
summoned the priests Siward and Goding and many 
others, and took their evidence and the oath of the 
cured man. When the miracle could not be gain- 
said, assembling the people in the church, the abbot 
caused a sermon to be preached, and, with the pealing 
of the bells, the " Te Deum " to be sung. 

Of these visions of mercy not the least striking Kanuir, a 

Norman knight 

are those in which St. Edmund is said to have con- 
verted sinners and inspired them to dedicate their 
lives to God. The conversion of Eanulf is a case 
in point. Eanulf, " viUe religiose monachus," the 
monk of religious life, the assiduous keeper of the 
shrine for many years, the witness and narrator of 
miracles, had been a courtier of the Conqueror's, a 
knight " militari perversus in opere," the comrade 
of Chichester. l Struck down by fever in one of his 
foraging expeditions, he lay tossing on his bed of 
sickness for eight days, unable to eat, drink or sleep. 

" On the eighth day God deigned to visit him Seeg st 
through his martyr, who desired to show him mercy, Et 
and whom the sick man had ever remembered." 
For, falling asleep, he dreamt of St. Edmund, saw 
the saint on horseback in glittering armour pursuing 
him, felt his lance strike him in the back and throw 

1 Probably liobert, the unworthy son of the noble Roger de 
Montgomeri, Earl of Chichester and Shrewsbury, who died in 1094. 
(See Ordericus Vit., v. 14.) 


him prostrate from his horse into a hedged enclosure 
full of flowers, and saw him standing over him threaten- 
ing death. He pitifully begged for mercy and life. 
Edmund kindly laid his open right hand upon the 
soldier's head, and making the sign of the cross 

who cures him, upon him, answered, " If you would but do what 
will bring them to you, you can be free." In answer 
to the knight's request Edmund revealed his name and 
disappeared. When the sick man awoke, lie found 
himself well, and in the morning explained his 
miraculous cure to the ecclesiastics of the court, to 
Samson, 1 and to others who knew of his sickness. 
Unable to throw off the impression which that dream 

And he becomes nR d made, Knight Ranulf asked for the tonsure, and 
shortly after took the religious habit in St. Edmund's 
abbey. 2 He had been a " literatus " and had aban- 
doned the schools for a military life. ]S"ow we see 
him a priest and monk, " Deum laudans in martyrem 

1 Not necessarily Abbot Samson. 

- It is not clear whether the monk Ranulf is the same as 
Radulph of whom the following is related in Bodl. 240 f. 663 : 

' ' The Vision of the Monk Radulph. We have seen'a religious man 
named Radulph, a monk of St. Edmund's, who fell sick, after he 
had persevered from youth to old ago in the religious life, and by 
the command of Abbot Hugh had built the altars of St. Thomas the 
Martyr, St. Botulph, and St. Jurminus, and collected the relics of 
St. Thomas and of as many others as gold and jewelled 
shrines. One Sunday night, when his sickness had become 
very grave, he saw approach him in most sweet vision our 
Lord Jesus Christ, Edmund also with Thomas, and St. Botulph 
with St. Jurminus and St. Nicholas. They spoke to him in melli- 
fluous colloquy, saying : ' Adorn the chamber of thy heart, and 
come to us ; is there aught beyond ? You shall come to rest and 
eternal glory.' The holy vision passed ; he asked for his confessor 
to be summoned and related all to him. Then he made his con- 
fession, and when he had received the body of the Lord, com- 
mending his soul to God, to Blessed Mary and St. Edmund, and 
,to the others mentioned above, and to all the saints, he fell asleep 
in peace." 


Eadmundum, et ipsum martyrem pretiosum venerans 
in Omnipotentem Deum," " praising God in His 
martyr Edmund and venerating the precious martyr 
himself in Almighty God." 

The apparition of Edmund which changed " the The story of 
once proud Henry Earl of Essex " into " the tonsured, enry 
mournful, penitent monk " of Reading Abbey, has 
been described by Carlyle with more than his usual 
force and beauty of language. Abbot Samson, being 
on a visit to Reading, heard the particulars from 
Henry's own mouth and charged one of his attendant 
monks to commit it to writing. Hence it found its 
way as an episode into a copy of Jocelin's Chronicle 
and gets commented upon in the pages of " Past 
and Present." 

Henry Earl of Essex, standard-bearer of England, His character, 
held high rank among the barons of Henry II. 
and filled important offices in the state during that 
monarch's reign. Haughty and imperious, however, 
he tho.ught little of the laws of right and justice. 
He threw Gilbert of Cereville into prison and with 
chains and torments gradually wore out his life, 
although his only crime was that of the innocent 
Joseph. He showed no reverence for St. Edmund, 
as all others did who respected the " heavenly in man." 
While the people of the eastern counties endowed 
King Edmund the martyr's resting-place with rich 
gifts, Henry by violence defrauded it of five solidi Hc ,, efrauda 
yearly and converted the said sum to his own uses. st< E<lmund ' s : 
Again for his own profit he questioned the right of 
St. Edmund's court to try a certain cause, saying 
that it belonged to his in Lailand Hundred, and 
thus " involved us in travellings and innumerable 
expenses, vexing the servants of St. Edmund for a 
long period." But all this time he did but weave 
his own evil destiny. For in the year 1157, attending 


King Henry in the Welsh wars as hereditary standard- 
bearer, when the enemy made a sudden attack on 
the English in the difficult pass of Coleshill, he 
dropped the standard and shrieked out that the 
king was slain and all was lost. The utmost con- 
fusion ensued, and destruction threatened king and 
army, till the brave Count Roger of Clare came dashing 
up with his men, and, raising the royal standard 
from the ground, rallied the fugitives and drove 
back the Welshmen. 1 Once they were home again, 
treachef-y d by lth ^ ie incident was not forgotten, and Earl Eobert 
Montfort. de Montfort, the standard-bearer's kinsman and match 
in strength, rising up in the assembly of the great 
barons, declared him unfit for standard-bearer and 
branded him traitor and coward. 
A duel in conse- Henry answers in a recriminatory speech. A chal- 


Thames Eyot lenge is offered and accepted, and a duel appointed 

near Reading, 

A.D. 1163. t fog fought on an island of the Thames near Eeading, 
within a short distance of the abbey. King, peers 
and a great multitude of people on scaffoldings and 
hillocks assemble to see the issue. " And it came 
to pass," writes the scribe, "while Robert thundered 
on him with hard and frequent strokes, and a bold 
beginning promised the fruit of victory, Henry, 
fainting a little, looked around ; and lo ! on the 
confines of river and land he discerned, as if hovering 
in the air, the glorious king and martyr in shining 
armour, and with austere countenance nodding his 
head towards him in an angry and threatening manner. 
At St. Edmund's side stood another knight, Gilbert 
de Cereville, in armour less splendid, in stature 
smaller, but casting indignant and revengeful looks 
at him. Startled and trembling, he saw them and 
that old remembered crime brings new shame. And 

1 SeeGervase, Rolls Series, i. 165 ; Diceto, " Ymag Hist., "Rolls 
Series, i. p. 310. 


now wholly desperate, instead of using his reason 

in skilled defence he begins a wild and blind 

attack. But while he struck fiercely, he was more 

fiercely struck, and while he fought manfully, he 

was more manfully fought ; and so he fell down ST 

vanquished and, as it was thought, slain. As he Riding abbey, 

lay there for dead, his kinsmen, magnates of England, 

besought the king that the monks of Reading might 

have leave to bury him. However, he proved not 

to be dead, and got well again among them, and, 

restored to health, he strove in the regular habit to 

wipe out the stain of his former life, and to redeem 

the long week of his dissolute history by at least an 

edifying sabbath, cultivating virtue into the fruit of ^^ a monk. 

eternal felicity.' 

Thus St. Edmund was believed to influence the 
minds and hearts of men, whether by real visions 
" on the rim of the horizon," or by silent presence 
in the tomb, teaching generations of Englishmen to 
be just and reverent, and reminding them of the 
other world to which lie and they belonged. 

St. Abbo supplies the final comment on these st. 

commentary on 

scenes so old yet so actual, and in their meaning so the miracles. 
beautiful, great and true, which are now left to the 
scepticism or faith of moderns. " Desirous of being 
brief," writes the saintly abbot, "I pass over many 
of the glorious virtues which shine forth from St. 
Edmund, lest I offend the over-fastidious by my 
lengthiness. Besides I think that what I have related 
will be sufficient for the fervour and devotion of 
those who after the protection of God desire nothing 
so much as the patronage of this great martyr. Of 
him it is evident, as it is of other saints reigning 
with Christ, that, though his soul is in heavenly 
glory, still it is not far distant, either by day or 

night, from the body in whose company it merited 



those joys of blessed immortality which it now 
possesses. Until they are joined in the eternal 
kingdom, where they shall be forever together, he has 
indeed whatever he can have or wish to have, except 
only that he desires with unwearied desire that by 
the resurrection he may be surrounded with the robe 
of flesh. When by the bounteousness of Christ that 
shall come to be, then shall the happiness of the 
saints be complete." 

t>enr vi. at St. Edmund's Sbnnc. 


Harleian MSS. 2J78.) 



Devotion to St. Edmund. 

[Au&orities Most of the authorities referred to at the beginning of previous 
chapters illustrate one or other phase of devotion to the great martyr of 
England, aud are therefore spoken of when necessary in t:ie body of this 
chapter. Several pieces of which no mention has been made before, and 
notably the epic by Denis Piramus and the " Vita Sti Edmundi " by William 
of Ramsey, are specially noticed. The Bodl. MS. Digby 109, which contains 
the ancient office of the royal martyr, is folly described among the 
authorities at the beginning of Chapter IV.] 

A MAX'S personality is sometimes more vividly felt st Edmund's 
iu his absence than in his presence. When the ** 
changeable and disturbing elements of appearance, 
mannerisms and faults have passed away, his genuine 
character, power and influence are more fully realized. 
Thus great men often exercise more influence over 
their followers after death than during life, for their 
admirers keep fresh the memory of what attracted 
them and forget what repelled them. The personality 
of St. Edmund, more markedly than in an ordinary 
hero, won the affection and loyalty of all with whom 
he came into contact during life, but it stood re- 
vealed in all its force and beauty only after his 
death. He was indelibly fixed in the minds not 
only of his subjects but of future kings and people, 
English and Danes, clergy and laity, as the model 
of a ruler, a saintly high-souled Christian, an 
unflinching champion of the faith, and a valiant 
defender of people and country against a national 
enemy. This high idea of bis nobleness resulted in 
an extraordinary devotion to his memory. Xo sooner 



inspires the did the people issue from their hiding-places than, 

early devotion. 

unmindful of their own troubles, they sought with 
tears and prayers for the remains of their king, in 
order to hury them with deepest reverence and 
love. Other leaders who had fallen in conflict with the 
Danes had been covered with a simple mound of earth 
hastily constructed, and had soon been forgotten. But 
the East Anglians could not easily forget their " good 
shepherd," their "loving father," their "heavenly 
intercessor," so close to the throne of the Lamb. 
His grave was sacred, a holy spot, and they erected 
to perpetuate their martyr's memory a chapel over it. 
Divine Provi- Almighty God in His Providence, in order to 

dence kept alive 

the devotion, signalize the saintly king's distinctive character and 
to glorify the Christian faith, assisted the devotion 
of the faithful by special graces and miracles, and 
the Church by enrolling the martyr amongst her 
saints proclaimed far and wide the grandeur of his 
life and deeds. 

The consequent outward expressions of enthusiastic 
love and admiration for the holy king are scarcely sur- 
passed in the annals of the saints of God. Again and 
again, bishop and abbot, clergy and people assembled, 
with all the ceremony and display that reverence 
and affection could suggest, to translate his relics, and 
each time to a richer shrine and a more magnificent 
basilica. Devout women, like Oswene, elected to 
spend their life in attendance at the martyr's tomb 
and to minister with motherly care to the incorrupt 
body. Faithful guardians, like Ailwin, dedicated their 
lives to perform "menial service" at his tomb, 
or, like Herman and Eadulph, to solemnly attes- 
tate and register the miracles which shed a lustre 
on his name. Chroniclers took delight in record- 
ing the martyr's exploits and in sounding his 
eulogies ; poets selected his deeds for the theme of 

Which found 

In personal 
service ; 

In written 
eulogies ; 


their verses, and made him the hero of their devout 

epics ; liturgists composed in his honour antiphons and 

hymns, lessons and prayers for the mass and divine 

office. Men of faith, emulous of his service, sought In external 

for the religious habit in his monastery, and even w 

monks of other abbeys resigned their dignities to 

live under the shadow of his shrine. In dis- 

tant towns and villages devout clients invoked his 

intercession, and from every county a ceaseless stream 

of pilgrims came to his tomb to return thanks or to In pllgrimages . 

offer homage. The Church inserted his name in her 

martyrologies, instituted festivals in his honour and 

specially solemnized the day of his martyrdom. 

Churches and chapels were dedicated under his 

invocation not only in England but throughout i n churches and 

Christendom. Lastly, the accumulated worship of ages 

took a material and tangible form in the magnificent 

memorial known as St. Edmund's patrimony, in whose in the building 

up of St. 

centre lay the incorrupt body of the saint, peacefully 

reposing in the golden shrine, which glittered with 
jewels, and which was surmounted by the stone canopy 
of Baldwin's mighty basilica. Around, the gables and 
turrets of the vast pile of monastic buildings 
formed a sacred rampart of defence garrisoned by 
the Benedictine guardians of the sanctuary. On 
all sides clustered the roofs and spires of the town 
peopled by the martyr's own subjects, and adorned 
with churches and libraries, hospitals and free 
schools, while far away beyond extended the wide 
possessions which generations of devoted clients, 
kings and freemen, nobles and burgesses, had humbly 
offered to that saintly form sleeping in their midst. 
The devotion of the people was fostered by the T . 

> Literary tributes 

literary tribute to the royal martyr, his life written tothe saint - 
by various pens, the poems in his honour, the 
liturgical hymns, the accounts of his miracles and 



St. Abbo's 

Other Lives of 
the saint. 

Lives in the 

the translations of his body, the references and 
records in monastic chronicles of the details of his 
life. Among them all, the Life of the martyr by 
St. Abbo holds the chief place, by reason of its 
origin and the touching piety of its style. St. Abbo 
wrote at the request of St. Dunstau, then arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, supplementing the story of 
the old armour-bearer, as he had received it from 
the archbishop, with the information which he 
picked up from the keepers of the shrine when he 
visited Beodricsworth ; and he produced a history of 
the Judas Machabeus of East Anglia, the Aloysius 
of the ninth century, the Sebastian of English legend, 
which was transcribed and multiplied until it found 
its way into all the important abbeys of Europe. 
Herman and Osbert de Clare made it the preface of 
their Books of the Miracles of St. Edmund ; Abbots 
Leofstan and Baldwin took copies to Italy. In old 
illuminated manuscripts it survived the destruction 
of much else around it and found its way into the 
great modern libraries of Copenhagen, Gotha, Lucca, 
Vienna, Paris, London and Oxford. Surius printed 
it among his Lives of the Saints, and others followed 
his example, so that now all who wish can read it. 1 
Other monks as devout as Abbo, like the authors 
of the Harleian Life 2 and the Bodleian compilation, 3 
made the writing of St. Edmund's Life a labour of 
love. Many of these Lives, long since perished, 
were much fuller than Abbo's, notably the " Prolixa 
Vita" abbreviated in Curteys' Register, and the 
" Acts," from which Gaufridus drew his account of 
the saint's childhood. Monastic scribes multiplied 
copies in the vernacular, so that the people might 

1 For a full notice of St. Abbo and his work see Authorities, 
Chapter IV. 

2 MS. 802 f. 226b. 3 MS. 240. See Authorities, Chapter II. 


read them. Five such in the East Anglian dialect 
are extant in the libraries of Oxford, Cambridge and 
the British Museum. The devotion of the people 
called too for the history of the Passion of St. 
Edmund in their own tongue, and live copies in 
East Anglian dialect survive in ancient manuscript 
and one in modern print. 1 

The religious houses of England almost without The homage of 

the religious 

exception rendered homage to the martyr or the houses. 
East by recording his life and deeds in their 
annals. William, the monk of Ramsey Abbey, in 
the thirteenth century wrote the Life now extant in 
the public library of Cambridge. 2 He confesses that 
he did so from zeal, not because he considered him- 
self worthy " Plus volo quam valeo regis mernorando 
triumphos." Westminster, Malmesbury, Croyland, 
Durham, Ely, Peterborough, Gloucester, and other 
convents great and small, followed his example, for 
no chronicler thought his work complete without 
the history of the Koyal Edmund. 

This universal homage frequently took the form The tribute of 


of verse. A poet of Rufford Abbey conceived the 
lines which fixed St. Edmund as a national patron. 
Monk William of liamsey adds to his Life of the 
saint the two hymns beginning " Stupet caro, 
stupet mundus " and " Profitendo fidem solarn," each 
of thirty leonine lines. Samson invokes the muse, 
" Martyris ut laudes digne narrare," that he may 
worthily speak of the martyr. An unknown poet 
sings the elegy, " Salve festa dies toto," found in 
the old manuscript Bodl. 832, and Robert of 

1 The text of the MS. on the Passion of St. Edmund, Bodl. N. E. 
f. 4, has been printed in Mr. Thorpe's "Analecta Anglo-Sax onica," 
pp. 119-126, as an interesting specimen of the dialect of East 

2 MS. D. d. ii. if. 125b-136b. 

Two epics. 

The French 
one by Denis 

Its prologue. 


Gloucester writes in his native tongue the poetical 
life, beginning 

"Edmund, ye holi holi king, of whom we make great feste," 
and ending 

' ' Now God for ye love of Saint Edmund that was so noble a king, 
Grant ous ye joy yat he is inne, after cure ending. 

Amen." 1 

which the martyr's scribes multiplied for the people 
to read. 

With St. Edmund as the hero, the two epics, one 
by the courtier Denis Piramus and the other by the 
monk Lydgate, surpass all minor poems in depth of 
devotion and poetic language. Even the laudatory 
and beautiful epithets lavished on the royal martyr 
by Herman, Osbert de Clare, and Samson, do not 
express more enthusiastically the piety of contem- 

Denis Piramus, the Erench author of the first 
epic, passed the greater part of his life in the court 
of Henry III. and composed his poem, he says, to 
entertain the king and his nobles with holy thoughts 
on a sea-voyage. The poet begins his " Vie S. 
Edmund le Eey" 2 with an act of sorrow for his 
ill-spent life : 

' ' Mult ay use, cum pechere, 
Ma vie en trop foli manere 
E trop ay use ma vie 
En peche e en folie." 

1 Harl. MS. 2277. Printed for the Philological Society by Mr. 
F. J. Furnivallin his volume of " Early English Poems and Lives 
of the Saints," Svo, 1862. Five copies of this poet's Life of 
St. Edmund are extant. 

2 " La Vie de S. Edmund le Rey en vers," MS. Cott. Domit. 
A xi. ff. 1-24. 


He then laments the time spent in making profane 
rhymes, of which he now expresses his repentance, 
and resolves to use his talents for a nobler end. 
" Jes ay noun Denis Piramus " " I am named Denis 
Piramus," 1 he says, as he proceeds to comment on 
the popularity with the nobility of the author of the 
" Parthonopeus " and Marie de France, and to beg 
his audience to listen to his song, if they wish to 
hear something a thousand times sweeter and worthier 
of their notice than the compositions of either 
versifier, and what moreover will do good to their 
souls. The prologue finished, he begins the Life : The Life. 

"Ore oyez, Cristiene gent, 
Vus qui en Dieu Omnipotent 
Auez et fey e esperance 
E de salvaciun fiance." 

The Life extends to 3,286 verses and ends : 

" La teste unt pur ces desevre 
Loinz del cors que nel trouassent 
Cristiens, ne al cois la justassent 
E que en honeste sepulture 
Ne meissent, par aventure, 
Le chief et le cors ensement 
Del martir Dieu Omnipotent. " 

1 See the article "Denis Piramus " in the " Histoire Litteraire 
de la France," vol. xix. 629, where special mention is made of his 
MS. Life of St. Edmund. In this article Piramus' reference to the 
" Parthonopeus " (whose author is unknown) is taken as an acknow- 
ledgment of himself as the author, but really Denis does no more 
than contrast himself with the writer of the "Parthonopeus de 
Blois' : and of Marie de France. "The Abbe" de la Rue," says 
Hardy, " in his ' Essais historiques sur les Bardes ' (vol. iii. p. 101), 
makes no suggestion as to Denis being the author of the ' Par- 
thonopeus.' He had the MS. before him, and he would, I think, 
have noticed the fact, had he interpreted the sentence as M. 
Francique Michael, the author of the article in ' Histoire 
Littdraire,' had done." 


Th<> thud part After the Life come 714 verses or lines on the " Mira- 
cles," l but the work is incomplete and ends abruptly. 
As an historical piece Denis Piramus' poem has much 
in common with the works of St. Abbo, Gaufridus, 
Gainiar and Simeon of Durham; 2 but it is fuller, 
and excels them all as a fervent eulogy of St. 

The English epic Two hundred years after the death of Denis 

by the Benedic- 
tine Lydgate. Piramus, the monk-poet of St. Edmund's Bury and 

the disciple of Chaucer composed his famous epic in 
English : 

" The noble story to putte in remembraunce 

Off Sancte Edmond, mayde, Martyr and Kyng. " 3 

With the united love of a son for his father, of 
a loyal subject for his king, of a devout client for 
his saintly patron, John Lydgate sang of St. Edmund. 
Nine copies of his work live in manuscript, some 
with the addition of the " Miracles " or other 
rhythmic pieces in honour of the martyr, but all 
rich in language and pathos. The devout poet, while 
adhering strictly to historical fact, ever and anon 
breaks forth into hymns and prayers and invocations. 
One copy 4 begins with a Latin poem, another 5 ends 
with " a requeste of the translatour unto seynt 
Edmond in conservacion of his franchyse," commen- 
cing the prayer, " Now let us alle with hertly 
confydense," &c. The preface of the Ashmole MS. 
46 i. is followed by the invocation, " precious 
Charbouncle of Martirs alle," placed at the beginning 

1 Fol. 16. 

2 Both Gainiar and Simeon of Durham have written at length 
on St. Edmund, but it is impossible to notice every chronicler 
of the royal martyr's life and passion. 

3 See Authorities Chapter II. fora full account of Dom Lydgate. 

4 MS. Harl. 4826. 

5 MS. Bodl. Tanner 347 f. 98. 


of this volume, and in Ashmole 463 the eighty- 
seventh stanza is followed by the invocation to the 
saint and prayer for the king, " Glorious Martir, 
which of devout humblesse," &c. These are samples 
of the outpourings of the learned Benedictine's heart 
towards the grand patron of his abbey and country. 
Royal hands did not disdain to accept his poem, and 
Henry VI. and Edward IV. set high value on 
the copies which the monks presented to them. 

One of these copies illustrates the labour and skill The scribes' 


which the monastic illuminators and scribes bestowed 
on all manuscripts treating of their martyr patron. 
The highest order of workmanship distinguishes most 
of those extant. In some the love of the scribe has 
specially lavished itself on the name " Edmund." 
Herman would write it in gold wherever it occurred ; 
others, like Prior Osbert or Samson, made it to 
stand out from their pages in crimson or in emerald 
and gold. But " The Life and Acts of St. Edmund 
the King and Martyr" by John Lydgate, presented 
to King Henry VI., surpassed them all in brilliant 
colouring, thick gold, blackest lettering, whitest vellum 
and beautiful pictures. This, the richest illuminated 
manuscript in the world, is a standing record of the 
devotion of transcriber and painter to St. Edmund. 1 

No generation of chroniclers from the century of The homage of 

the centuries. 

the saint's birth failed in its literary tribute to his 
memory. His contemporary Asser began the series. 
Each succeeding age produced its conspicuous bio- 
grapher and a host of minor ones. Thus St. Abbo 
wrote in the tenth century ; Herman the archdeacon 
and Gaufridus de Fontibus in the eleventh ; 2 William 

1 For a description of it see the Harleian Catalogue, vol. ii. pp. 
39, 640. 

2 The MS. Bodl. Digby 109 speaks, so it appears from a note 
taken in reading it, of Gaufridus as living in the llth century. 


of Malmesbury, Osbert de Clare 1 and Samson in the 
twelfth ; William of Eamsey, Denis Piramus and 
Roger of Wendover in the thirteenth ; Matthew of 
Westminster and the copious Richard of Cirencester 
in the fourteenth ; Lydgate and Capgrave 2 in the 
fifteenth ; Polydorus Vergil, and Harpsfield in the 
sixteenth, and the second French biographer, Pierre 
de Caseneuve, in the seventeenth. All these and a 
hundred others, impressed by the charm and noble- 
ness of Edmund's character, committed their thoughts 
and knowledge to writing, in order to hand down 
from age to age an unbroken record of devotion to 
one of the most popular English saints. 

he pilgrimage It is not surprising that this wide-spread know- 
to St. Edmund's 

court. ledge and admiration of St. Edmund, and the 

noble and unique individuality which his name 
implied, should attract pilgrims from every part of 
Christendom. Pilgrimages in the middle ages, unlike 
modern excursions, were prompted by feelings of 
piety and reverence. The pilgrimage to the 
" seven incorrupt " was a favourite devotion with 
our Catholic forefathers, and St. Edmund's Bury or 

its popularity. Court was the most favoured among the seven. Round 
his shrine the devout female sex specialis Eadmundi 
gloria 3 had an honourable place, which contrasted 
favourably with their reception when visiting St. 
Cuthbert, from whose church at Durham they were 
for a long time excluded. 4 St. Edmund's was, more- 
over, one of the three great pilgrimages of England, 
determined every year by the " lasting out " of the 
votive candles lighted for that purpose. No one can 

1 A.D. 1136. Bale (i. 189) states that Prior Osbert flourished 
in the time of Innocent II., A.D. 1130, and wrote a Life of SL 
Edward the Confessor, which he presented to that pontiff's legate. 

2 Capgrave's is the first printed life and in black letter. 

3 Herman. 

4 Simeon of Durham, ii. 7, Rolls ed. 


fail to be struck with the pictures of the times 
which these pilgrimages ever and anon unveil. 
Whole villages full of Christian sympathy would 
accompany their blind or sick or lame to seek a 
cure ; at the first sight of the abbey-towers all knelt 
to salute St. Edmund, and on arriving within a mile 
of the city completed the journey barefoot ; bishops, 
nobles, and people joined in the pilgrimage, and, as 
the numerous parties approached the gates of the 
town, the concourse increased to thousands, especially 
about the 20th of November. The great barons of 
the realm and their numerous retainers could there 
meet without creating surprise in 1205 and again in 
1214. Large accommodation was needed for the 
pilgrims ever coming and going, and till lately Cook 
Row, Abbey Gate Street, in which they took their 
meals, bore traces of the kind supplied. Thus the foot- 
sore and disappointed, like Abbot Samson " when his 
soul was struck with sorrow," the poor and the 
weary the happy and the fortunate, came to sit 
down under the shadow of St. Edmund's shrine, 
feeling that no resting-place could be sweeter or 
more peaceful. 

St. Edmund's fame like Solomon's brought his Royal pilgrim 
fellow-monarchs to worship at his shrine. " Even 
kings themselves, who rule others," wrote William 
of Malmesbury, " used to boast of being St. Edmund's 
servants." From the time of Canute it was usual 
for our kings to send their crown to his church and 
afterwards to redeem it at a great price, and even to 
be crowned there anew. Some showed a special love 
for St. Edmund. St. Edward the Confessor delighted 
to call him his cousin and kinsman, and frequently 
visited his sanctuary, within a mile of which he 
would alight from his horse and make the remainder 
of the journey on foot, " giving this open testimony 


of his humility and devotion," and of his acknow- 
ledgment of King Edmund's more exalted sovereignty. 
Henry I. made a special pilgrimage of thanksgiving 
for his preservation from shipwreck. Henry II. after 
the martyrdom of St. Thomas came to St. Edmund 
in penitential garb, to beg his protection against his 
sons, and to make his confession to Abbot Samson. 
Richard the Lion-Heart, before starting for the Holy 
Land, in person recommended his crusade to the 
prayers of the soldier Edmund. " King John, imme- 
diately after his coronation, setting aside all other 
affairs," says Jocelin, " came down to St. Edmund, 
drawn thither by his vow and devotion." Edward 
I. and his queen visited the abbey and shrine 
thirteen times. Henry VII. was the last Catholic 
king to visit St. Edmund's, and Mary, queen dowager 
of France and sister of Henry VIII., the last Catholic 
queen. 1 
The pilgrimage The pilgrimage of Henry VI. described in Abbot 

of King Henry 

vi. Curteys' Register will give some idea of the character 

NOV i 1433 f th ese royal visits. 2 On All Saint's Day, 1433, the 
young king announced in parliament his intention of 
making a visit to St. Edmund's Bury. The news 
reached Abbot Curteys while he was staying at his 
manor of Elmswell six miles from the abbey. With- 
out delay he returned to the monastery to prepare 
for the royal visit ; no slight undertaking, for house 
The preparation, and board had to be provided for a king, a court and 
all the numerous attendants, from the lords and 
knights to the lowest valets. At once he engaged 

1 When the abbey was in ruins, Elizabeth came to gloat over 
its destruction. 

2 This account was communicated to the Society of Antiquaries 
in 1803 by Craven Ord, Esq., who took it from Abbot Curteys' 
Register, which then belonged to him . It is printed in the ' ' Archaeo- 
logia," vol. xv. pp. 65-71 ; see also Yates' account and the supple- 
ment to the " Tablet," Dec. 26, 1891. 


eighty workmen to repair his house or " palace " and 
to decorate and beautify it, and appointed one hundred 
officers of every rank to attend on Henry during 
his stay. He summoned the aldermen and chief 
burgesses to discuss how they might best receive 
their prince and in what dress, and it was agreed 
that the aldermen should wear scarlet, and their 
inferiors red cloth gowns and hoods of blood colour. 
At daybreak on Christmas eve. the day fixed for the Christmas evo 


king's arrival, these gaily dressed burgesses, five 
hundred in number, started from the town on horse- 
back, in open ranks stretching a mile along the 
road, to meet the king and his brilliant retinue at 
Newmarket Heath. Crowds of spectators from the 
town and villages of St. Edmund's franchise, eager to 
catch a glimpse of their sovereign, filled the streets 
and the vast abbey-courts. Henry and his gay 
cavalcade entered the precincts by the great gateway 
of the cemetery l into the full view of the western 
front of the basilica with its Norman towers and The reception, 
unbroken width of 250 feet. Its huge doors of 
bronze, cunningly chiselled by Brother Hugh, were 
thrown open at his approach, and the community 
to the number of seventy or eighty issued forth, all 
vested in precious copes, headed by cross and candles 
and followed by the abbot in full pontificals, with 
Bishop Alnwich of Norwich by his side, whom the 
monks had invited to join them as host. The 
brilliant procession divided, so as to allow the 
abbot and bishop to pass through their ranks, 
while the Earl of Warwick, alighting from his 
horse, offered his arm to the king to assist him 

1 This gateway was not in ruins at this or any other time, as the 
writer in the " Tablet " of December 26, 1891, implies. The central 
tower of the church was, however, at this time in ruins, but after- 
wards rebuilt by Abbot Curteys. 


to dismount. Henry advanced towards the pro- 
cession, and, as lie knelt upon the silken carpet spread 
out on the ground, the abbot, approaching, sprinkled 
him with holy water and presented the crucifix, which 
the king devoutly kissed. Then the procession 
The king turned and re-entered the stately church, the whole 

shrine. of the varied crowd following. An unbroken length 

of 500 feet stretched before them, guarded on either 
side by ranks of massive Norman columns and 
illuminated by painted roof and coloured glass. The 
organ burst forth in jubilant strains of music, and 
the vaulting of the vast basilica rang with the 
anthem of the martyred king, "Ave Rex gentis 
Anglorum," which the whole body of monks chanted 
in unison as they led the boy -king to the high 
altar. Then Henry, having prayed before the Blessed 
Sacrament, which hung over the altar in a cup of 
pure gold presented by Henry III. for that purpose, 
passed through one of the side doors in the painted 
altar-screen into the feretory beyond, to pay his 

The feretory 

itself. devotions to the shrine of the martyr. This master- 

piece of art had grown richer since the days of 
Abbot Samson. A precious sapphire and a ruby 
of great price, the special gifts of King John, now 
sparkled among the other jewels, countless in number, 
which were set in the plates of solid gold. On the 
right side again, among other additions, a golden cross, 
surmounted by a flaming carbuncle and set thick with 
jewels, glistened in the work, and a second golden 
cross, weighing sixty-six shillings, the gift of the 
same benefactor, Henry Lacy, the last Earl of 
Lincoln of that name, crowned one apex of the 
shrine. At the four corners four great waxen 
candles burned day and night, the cost of which 
was defrayed by the rent of a Norfolk manor, a legacy 
of King Richard I. Above the whole stretched a 


canopy adorned witli painted pictures. Here then, 
upon a cloth spread over the marble step, the boy-king 
knelt to pay his devotions to St. Edmund, and having 
finished his prayers, he turned to the abbot, thanked 
him for the reception given him and passed with 
his suite into the abbot's palace. Henry spent 
Christmastide at the abbey, being present at all the 
Church solemnities. After the Epiphany celebrations 
he moved into the prior's house to enjoy the special 
hospitality of the monks, and to have easier access 
through the " vineyard " to the far-stretching wood 
beyond, in which king and court could indulge in 
the healthy pastime of the chase. During Henry's stay Dom John 


at the abbey the aged Dom John Lydgate, at the presents in* 
time prior of Hatfield, Broadoak, the poet of his day 
.and without a rival in England, presented to him 
a neatly written and gorgeously illuminated poem of 
" St. Edmund's Acts and Life " which has now be- 
come one of our national treasures. The young 
king spent Lent with the monks, joined in the 
celebrations of Easter and then prepared to leave. 
But first he petitioned to be received into the 
fraternity of the family of St. Edmund. 1 The Earl The king is 

admitted to 

of Warwick and his countess had already petitioned fraternit y- 
for and received the favour ; other courtiers had 
followed their example, notably Humphrey Duke of 
Gloucester, the king's uncle. Henry would not leave 
the monastery and the many friends he had made 

1 The ancient and present Benedictine system of admission to 
fraternity differs from the third orders which had their rise in the 
thirteenth century. In the Benedictine fraternity the bond of 
union is not to the order but to a particular house, to which hence- 
forth the con/rater holds a distinct and personal relation. He 
receives a share in the prayers and good works of the monastery, 
and himself engages to make its interests his own. He becomes 
one of the members of the monastic family who have received him. 



there without suing for a like privilege. Having 
prostrated himself before the shrine of the saint he 
went to the chapter-house with Gloucester and other 
nobles, and sent to inform the abbot of his desire. 
Abbot Curteys and the whole convent at once 
assembled in chapter and granted the young king's 
petition. The usual solemnities took place, and the 
sovereign and all the new confratres received the 
kiss of peace. Then the Duke of Gloucester, kneel- 
ing, reminded the king to thank the abbot for his 
kindness. Taking the prelate by the hand, Henry 
thanked him again and again, bade farewell to the 
assembled monks, and touchingly commended himself 
to God, to St. Edmund and to them. The kin 

Tin- ruyal 

departure. anc l his train then passed out of the abbey precincts, 
the five hundred good and true men of Bury, in 
their scarlet robes and red cloth gowns with blood- 
red hoods, escorting him the first stage of his journey 
to London. As the years of his troubled reign 
flowed on, Henry looked back with regret to those 
peaceful days at St. Edmund's, till again at the 
shrine, weighed down with sorrow, he mourned the 
murder of his uncle the good Duke of Gloucester. 
uistiii-'uuiie.i Besides royalty the highest ecclesiastical dignities 
thetonV 181 ' visited the martyr's tomb to reverence the saint and 
show their admiration for his principles. Cardinals 
and legates, archbishops, bishops and abbots knelt 
at the shrine to beg the intercession of St. Edmund, 
and afterwards to make him their offerings. The 
monks delighted to recall the names of such pilgrims 
as Blessed Lanfranc and St. Anselm, St. Thomas a 
Becket and Cardinal Langton. 

The description l of Archbishop Arundel's pil- 


Arundei, A.I. grimage in the year 1400 illustrates the nature of 


1 Given by Yates. 


these visits, always made, as the abbey registers have 
it, " saving the rights of the monastery." The prior 
and convent met him in the nave of the basilica, 
and after the usual sprinkling with holy water and 
kissing of the crucifix, all advanced to the high 
altar, and thence through the choir to the shrine of 
St. Edmund beyond. After his prayer, the arch- 
bishop expressed his admiration of the painting and 
decoration of the feretory. Then withdrawing to the 
abbot's palace, he took some refreshment, and after- 
wards returned to the church for vespers. Next 
day being Sunday, the archbishop heard two masses 
in the Chapel of the Eelics, himself celebrated a third, 
and then heard two more. After this he devoutly 
approached the shrine to make his oblation. From 
the church the monks conducted the illustrious 
prelate through the great cemetery to the chapel of 
St. Andrew and thence into the vineyard. The party 
returned by the infirmary, visited the hall and 
chamber of the prior, and, passing through the 
cloisters, came to the refectory. Leaving the refectory, 
they reached the " palace " about eleven o'clock, and 
there the lord abbot sumptuously entertained the 
archbishop and the Earl of Suffolk and their 
attendants. The clergy and squires of the archbishop 
declared that never had they been entertained in so 
honourable and splendid a manner. When the time 
came for the prelate to bid farewell to his hosts, the 
abbot, the Earl of Suffolk, Lord Maubray, the prior, 
sacrist, cellerarius, and a great multitude of people 
attended him to liysby on his road to Newmarket. 

The road to Newmarket was only one of the T]ie j,j]., rims . 
pilgrims' ways which converged towards St. Edmund's W! 
Bury. Crowds entered by all the ways, but pilgrims 
from the south had a special devotion for the route 
by which Ailwin travelled with the saint's body on 



The pilgrimage 
to Heglesduui- 

Churches and 

chapels under 

the invocation of 

st. Kdmnnd 

In England, 

his return to Beodricsworth. For five centuries they 
remembered the highway which, as they said, 
St. Edmund himself had traversed, and towns, like 
Braintree, on the main road from London to Suffolk 
gained their importance from the concourse of 
pilgrims who tarried at their inns. 

Neither did the lovers of St. Edmund forget the 
little chapel at Heglesdune, the martyr's first resting- 
place, which continued to be a favourite place of 
pilgrimage for many centuries. It belonged to the 
Benedictines of Norwich, who rebuilt it as the cell 
or chapel of St. Edmund King and Martyr, dependent 
on their cathedral priory. Langtoft sings of it: 

" Where he was shot, a noble chapel stands." 

Near by, the monks built Heglesdune or Hoxne 
Priory, and thither the bishops of Norwich often 
came to rest and pray. Thomas Brown, the 27th 
bishop, and William Lyhert or Hart, the 29th, 
breathed their last there. Those who visited St. 
Edmund's Bury generally made the pilgrimage to 
the scene of the martyrdom also, thereby gaining an 
indulgence of forty days. 1 

It is not surprising that the feelings inspired by 

. ' , . " . . 

a visit to the martyr s shrine bore rruit in the 
erection of churches and altars under his invocation 
at home and abroad. Christian art adorned these 
with paintings and sculptures, which appealed to the 
hearts and intellects of a Catholic people, while they 
illustrated the legend of the Martyr's life. " So," writes 
Green, " his figure gleamed from the pictured windows 
of every church along the eastern coast." 

Fifty-five of these old churches are still left stand- 
ing, 2 of which Southwold church, St. Edmund the 

1 Which can still be gained on the same conditions. 

2 There are fifteen remaining in Norfolk and seven in Suffolk. 


Martyr's, Lombard Street, London, St. Edmund's, 
Northampton, Dunwich church, and the chapel at 
Derehain in Norfolk, where the poet Cowper lies 
Ituried, are examples. In great English abbey and 
cathedral churches, as at (Jhichester and Tewkesbury, 
devout clients also raised chapels or altars in honour 
of the martyr. The chapel of St. Edmund behind 
the high altar of Tewkesbury abbey church still 
retains the sculptured history of its royal patron. 
Not only in England but even abroad St. Edmund A " llabl '" ! "'- 
received special honour. A church and hospice of 
St. Edmund the king and martyr existed in Eome 
in the middle ages. l A church of St. Edmund 
was built at Damietta, and existed there in the 
twelfth century. Eobillet, bishop of Avesnes and 
suffragan bishop of Autun, on Sept. 22, 1489, con- 
secrated an altar to the martyr kings SS. Edmund 
and Oswald in the priory church of Bar-le-Regulier. 
St. Edmund's altar stood in the portico of St. Martin's 
cathedral church at Lucca in the eleventh century, 
and his chapel in St. John's church at Dijon in the 
eighteenth. The English Benedictines in the seven- 
teenth century dedicated their church at Paris under 
his name. And if these ancient memorials of St. 
Edmund have perished or are forgotten, modern 
devotion, at least in the eastern counties, still com- 
memorates by new churches and windows and 
sculptures the saint who for seven centuries was the 
exemplar of our sovereigns, the model of our youth, the 
patron of our knights, and a tutelar saint of our country. 2 

1 See Appendix. 

- For example, the church at Bungay, the monastery at Douai, 
and the church at Bury hold St. Edmund as their patron, and his 
ligure and arms may be seen in modern sculpture and painted 
,'lass, not only in his own city, but in places as wide apart as 
(Cheltenham and Blyth, Cambridge and Douai. 


The feast of st. In parish-church and humble chapel, in abbey and 


November, -20. cathedral, the martyr's two annual festivals were 
kept with unusual solemnity. The day of the martyr- 
dom had never been forgotten. The Eoman and several 
other Martyrologies recorded it on the 20th of November 
in these words : " In England the commemoration of 
St. Edmund, king and martyr" At his own monas- 
tery the monks doubtless celebrated the day with as 

The ringing in of great solemnity as Christmas or Easter. On the 
previous evening four successive changes of the great 
bells, subject, like everything else in an orderly 
house, to rule, announced to monks, townspeople and 
pilgrims the quality of the festival. The two Londons, 
the greater and the Holy- water bell, clanged out the 
first peal. The bells of the cemetery, including the 
-Gabriel or thunderstorm bell, and the chimes of St. 
Mary's, St. James' and St. Margaret's rang out the 
second and third peal. Lastly, the younger monks, 
sounding the chimes in the great lantern-tower, gave 
the signal to all the bells of the monastery to take 
up the music. The united peals from far and wide, 
with the well-known Haut-et-Cler bell, ringing high 
and clear above the others, produced the fourth 
peal, or Le Glas, as the citizens called it. 

Preparation for ^ tae ^ rst P ea ^ the mon ks hastened from the 
dormitory to the lavatory to wash, and thence to 
the choir to put on the albs there laid out for them, in 
preparation for vespers, while the abbot, prior, 
cantors and other ministers put on copes in the 

Meantime torches and candles were lighted through- 

The lighting of 

out the church. The four huge candles, never 
extinguished, burnt at the angles of the shrine, 
twenty-four of a pound weight, round the walls of 
the feretory, and seventeen in the windows of the 
presbytery ; before the high altar, four large torches 


of four pounds weight with the great candle, and 
the seven of the same size which continued burning till 
second vespers in the branch candlestick with gold 
reflectors. In the church twelve great torches were 
ablaze in the choir and rood, twelve in the lantern- 
tower, twenty-six in each transept, twenty-four under 
the arches of the nave, several before each of the 
twenty-four altars, and twelve each of eight pounds 
weight before the Lady altar. 

At the fourth peal of the bells, the grand procession ls 
of prelates and cantors in cope, and assistant ministers 
and priests and clerics from many parts, marched 
into the choir. Vespers commenced with the single 
antiphon, " Ave rex gentis Anglorum," sung by 
the whole body of monks and people. Now a few 
picked voices, now all together, sang the other parts 
of the office. At the "Magnificat" took place the S 
elaborate incensing. The prior, who had been wait- 
ing either in the vestry or before the altar of St. 
Saba, entered the choir and joined the abbot, sub- 
prior, sacrist, the abbot's chaplains and the vestiarius, 
preceded by two acolytes and two thurifers. The 
abbot, having put incense into both thuribles, took 
one, the prior the other; then they jointly incensed 
the Blessed Sacrament hanging over the altar in the 
majcstas. Next, passing through the doors of the 
altar screen, the abbot by the south door, preceded 
by two acolytes, and the sub-prior carrying the thurible 
the prior by the north, each with his part of the 
procession, they perform the same ceremony at the 
shrines of St. Edmund, SS. Botulph, Thomas, and 
Firminus, and Abbot Baldwin, as well as at the little 
altar of the choir in front of the last. Returning 
they incense the monks. Lastly the prior proceeds 
to incense the altar of the holy cross at the feet 
of St. Edmund's shrine, and the altar in the Lady 


chapel. The prolonged and solemn " Magnificat " 
finished, the prayer chanted and the " Benedicamus " 
sung, the brilliant procession passed out of the choir, 
and the throng of pilgrims and burgesses dispersed 
to their lodgings and homes to talk of St. Edmund 
and the festivities of the morrow. 

Matins and When the bells rang out again in the silence of 

the night for matins, the same scene was repeated 
with longer and more magnificent ceremonial. An 
expectant multitude of pilgrims again thronged the 
vast building, for religion was interwoven with the 
life of the people, and they delighted in the solemn 
worship of God. The shadows of the night 
magnified the spacious structure and added a deeper 
brilliancy to the religious light. The disposition of 
the candles and torches purposely left the nave in 
comparative darkness, while the transept arms shone 
bright, and from the strong lantern-tower fell rays 
of brilliant light upon the Eood and the attendant 
figures of our Lady and St. John. Again the choir 
was dimly illuminated, while the altar and the 
feretory blazed with light. The monks sang the long 
matins and the lauds which followed. At the clos- 
ing of each nocturn at matins, an increased number 
of cantors in cope sang the responsory, standing 
around Prior Brundish's gorgeous an ti phonal. As 
on other principal feasts, two picked voices would 
with thrilling effect send their clear and resonant 
tones through the vaulted roof of the basilica in 
such antiphons as " Gloriosus Dei Athleta ^dmun- 
dus." The same elaborate incensing as at vespers 
marked the end of each nocturn and the " Bene- 
dictus" of lauds, so that before the end of the office 
the church was fragrant with a cloud of incense. 

The procession The great mass of St. Edmund would be pre- 

be lore the high , -,,., -,i i i 

mass ceded by the procession. Servers with holy water 


and two thuribles led the way ; next two cross- 
bearers in copes, each accompanied by two torch - 
bearers ; then two secular chaplains in albs and 
copes bore the shrine containing St. Edmund's camisia; 
three sub-deacons followed, of whom one the epis- 
tolar of the mass reverently carried the great 
gospel-book, the sumptuous gift of Abbot Samson, 
and the other two " texts " of lesser price ; three 
deacons walked next carrying relics, the middle 
one the gospeller having the reliquary with Ave 
at the top. Following them a priest, a grave and 
ancient senior, carried the arm of St. Edmund, and 
after him two by two the whole convent, with the 
precentor and the succentor regulating the chant, 
the former with the seniors, the latter with the juniors. 
The abbot in full pontiticals closed the procession, 
followed by as many of the burgesses and pilgrims as 
chose to join. The procession passed along the Ar..mui the 


west cloister by the statue of Anselm, the first mitred 
abbot, and so through the south cloister to the east, 
from which it entered the crypt under the eastern part i nto the C ryit. 
of the church, which was occupied above by the shrine 
of St. Edmund. Twenty-four columns supported this 
subterranean church, dedicated, like that at Canter- 
bury, to the Blessed Virgin. When all had entered, 
the clerics placed the relics upon the altar, and the 
ministers ranging themselves within the altar-rails, 
the prior and sub-prior incensed the altar and the 
dignitaries, and the thurifers the community. Six 
voices sang a prose in honour of the martyr, and 
the prayer of the Station being said, the procession 
returned through the cloister to the church, singing 
hymns in praise of St. Edmund. l Arrived in the 

1 I am indebted to the supplement to the " Tablet " of Dec. 26, 
1891, for this beautiful description of a St. Edmund's Bury pro- 
cession and for many of the details of this part of the chapter. 


choir, the convent venerated the relics, and then the 
mass began. The precentor and succentor, assisted 

The great mass, by four companions, sang the Introit. Into the 
" Kyrie " tliey inserted one of the two fansnrce or 
antiphons allowed by the old use of the house. The 
whole choir of monks sang the " Gloria in excelsis," 
their trained voices making the mighty roof of the 
basilica re-echo with the chant. A jubilant peal 
of bells from the great tower prefaced the singing 
of the Sequence, and when the mass was over, the 
joy-bells rang out again, and priests and monks 
and people left the church to assemble again later 
for vespers. 

St. Edmund's monks kept a second feast of their 

The feast of patron on April 29, the anniversary of the trans- 

tlie Translation, . 

Apni 20. lation or his sacred body by Abbot Baldwin from 

the old round chapel to the new church. Both 
festivals were kept in the refectory also, the old 
" Liber Coenobii," or customary of St. Edmund's Bury, 
allowing a third fcrculum or dish in the aula or dining- 
hall at the principal meal on the feast of St. 
Edmund, and also 011 its dies octava and on the dies 
translationis. l 

Both feasts were observed beyond the limits of 
franchise. A decree of the Council of 

Ti.o feasts ke t 

KnS'i! ut Oxford in 1222 made the 20th of November a holy- 
day of obligation for the whole of England, and in 
1298 the feast of the translation was extended to 
every diocese in the kingdom. 2 After the break-up of 
religion in this country, the English Benedictines of 
St. Edmund's monastery at Paris still continued to 

An.i in France, solemnize the greater festival, and the annalist of 

1 They also seem to have annually kept a feast of the translation 
of St. Edmund by Abbot Leofstan on June 20. 

2 The feast of St. Edmund was also observed at Lucca from a 
very early date. 


the house, Dom Bennet Weldon, records the plenary 
indulgence to be annually gained on the martyr's 
feast in his Paris church, and informs us that, besides 
the Augustinians at Toulouse, the monks of the 
noble abbey of Fecamp in Normandy and the Bene- 
dictines of St.-Maur observed St. Edmund's day 
with solemnity. At the present time the Church in 
England keeps it as a double major, and the Bene- 
dictines at Douai and the Catholics in the martyr's 
own town as a feast of the first class. 

With what antiphons and prayers, lessons and The utm^y <>t 

the martyr's 

responsories, hymns and canticles ancient England feast - 
celebrated St. Edmund's memory, may be seen from 
the old liturgies or fragments of them which have 
survived the sixteenth century wreck. Of these the 
office written by St. Abbo and found at the end of 
his " Vita Sti Edmundi " in the Bodleian Library l is 
the most interesting and beautiful. The lessons have 
been copied into the exquisitely written and illumi- 
nated manuscript on St. Edmund in the Public 
Library of Copenhagen. 2 Hardy, ignorant of the ar- 
rangement and terminology of the breviary, speaks 
of the lessons and responsories as " short pieces of 
prose and hymns alternately occurring." St. Abbo 
really divides them into nocturns, and heads the 
" Lectiones," or lessons, according to present custom. 
In the arrangement of this old tenth-century office 
and the recurrence in it of the familiar hymns " Deus 
tuorum militum " and " Martyr Dei qui unicum," it 
is gratifying to trace our continuity with the past. 
In the original all the antiphons and responsories 

1 MS. Digby 109, a small folio volume of 13th century penman- 

2 MS. 1588, an 8vo volume in vellum in a 12th century hand. The 
lessons for the day of St. Edmund come after a copy of St. Abbo's 




are put to chant. The wording of them is so ex- 

ceedingly beautiful that no apology is needed for 
transcribing them here. 

The urstvespei-s. The single antiphon for vespers resembles the 

The single 

Regina coelorum " of our Lady. 



I I 

Ave rex gentis An- glor -um, mi-les re-gis an-ge - lo - rum. 

I I 

^M-mun- de ttos mar - ty - rum, ve - lut rosa vel li - li - 

um, fun-de pre - ces ad Do - minum, pro sa - lu e 

fi - de - li - um. 

(P n e u m a . ) 

King Edmund, hail ! East Anglians' king, 

Hail, soldier of the Angels, sing ! 

Thy valour's bright beyond compare, 

Thy virtues rose and lily share ; 

Pour forth thy prayers at Jesus' feet, 

That we with thee in heaven may meet. ' 

Psalm. Dixit Dominus. 
Hymn. Deus tuorum inilitnm. 

1 Translation by the late Father Lazenby, S. J., a devout client 
of St. Edmund. St. Catharine of Sienna made a similar reference 
to the red rose of martyrdom : "In His mercy," she says, " He 
has granted me the white rose of virginity, und I had hoped He 
would add the red rose of martyrdom, but I am disappointed of 
my hope, and doubtless it is my innumerable sins that are the 
cause." (Life of St. Catharine of Sienna, p. 416, 1st edit.) 



The Antiphon for the " Magnificat " is a soul-movin" The Autiphou 

atthe" Magnif 

call to Englishmen to glory in the possession of so cat -" 
noble a hero : 

Ad Magnificat Ant. Exulta 
sancta ecclesia totius gentis 
Anglice ; : ecce in manibus est 
laudatio /Edmundi, regis incliti, 
et martyris invictissinii, qui 
triumphato innndi principe celos 
ascendit victoriossime. Sancte 
Pater .'Edmunde, tuis suppli- 
cibus intende. 

Antiphon at the Magnificat. 
Exult, O holy Church of the 
entire English nation ; behold to 
thee it is given to praise Edmund, 
the illustrious king and the most 
invincible martyr, who, triumph- 
ing over the prince of this world, 
most victoriously ascended into 
heaven. Holy Father Edmund, 
hearken to thy suppliants. 

The invitatory of matins runs thus : 


Invitatorium. Regem regum 
adoremus in milite suo JEd- 
inundo gloriosum : * per quern 
ecclesiam suam mirificavit et 
celi senatum letificavit. 

Let us adore the The Invltatory . 



King of kings, glorious in His 
soldier Edmund: * through whom 
He has made wonderful His 
Church and given joy to the 
court of heaven. 
Martyr Dei, qui unicuni. 

The Hymn. 


Ant. Saint Edmund, flower The Antiphons 

Ant. Sanctus ^dmundus 
clarissimus natalibus oriundus 
a primevo juventutis tempore earliest youth followed Christ 


f .1, , . ,. , , . oftlietirst 

of an illustrious line, from his xocturn. 

Christum toto secutiis est pec- with 

Ps. Beatus vir. 

whole heart. 

Ant. Cumque inventus ado- 
lesceret cum gratia, eum in regni 
solio Dei sublimavit providentia, 
ecclesiae suae statuens defensorem 
pro qua usque ad sanguinem 

Ant. And when found to 
have grown up to youth in grace, 
God's Providence raised him to 
the throne of a kingdom, and 
established him a defender of 
His Church, for which he strove 
even to thesheddingof his blood. 

Ps. Quare fremuerunt gentes. 

Ant. Legem dedit rex era- Ant. The cruel king Inguar 

delis Inguar, ut ^Edmundum gave command to force Edmund 

1 The e in place of the re or (c is common among medieval writers. 



exilio relegarent, aut capite into exile, or rather to cut 
potius detruncarent, si eum suis off his head, if they could not 
legibus inclinare aut subdere bend him to their laws or subdue 
non possent. him. 

Ps. Domine quid. 

The Response- The nine lessons of this beautiful office are omitted 
first xocturn here for fear of wearying the reader, but the re- 

lessons. , . , 

sponsories alter each are given as they occur. 

I. R7. Sancte indolis puer, 
/Edmundus ex antiquoruiu per- 
sonis reguni nativitatis sumpsit 
exordium. InformavitRex celes- 
tis : * Ut sibi coheredem trans- 
ferret in celis. Jt. Cujus 
infantiam illustravit Spiritus 
Sancti gratia, quoniam cornpla- 
cuit sibi in illo anima Domini 
Jesu.* Ut sibi. 

II. R7. Egregium decus et 
salus magna fuit, quod in solio 
regni princeps Dei .Edmundus 
surrexit : * Cum in templo Dei 
ut columna lucis et fulsit. y. 
Vita ejus gloriosa virtutibus, 
distincta fuit sanctitate et pie- 
tate decora. * Cum in templo. 

III. R7. Miles Christi sanc- 
tus, ^Edmundus, Spiritu Sanc- 
to plenus dixit ad regem : Non 
me tue incurvant amicitie, nee 
tormenta terrent mine. *Glori- 
osum est enim mori pro Domino. 
y. Ignis et ferruni super mel et 
favum michi est jocundum. * 
Gloriosum. Gloria. Gloriosum. 

I. 1^. Edmund, a boy of 
saintly character, was descended 
from an ancient race of kings. 
The heavenly King fashioned 
him,* that hemight translate him 
to heaven as his coheir. Thegrace 
of the Holy Ghost illumined his 
childhood, for the spirit of Jesus 
Christ in him was pleasing to 
Him. That he might, &c. 

II. R;. Transcendent was 
our glory, great our security, 
because the prince of God, Ed- 
mund, ascended the throne of our 
kingdom. * Since in God's 
temple even as a column of light 
he shone, y. His life, glorious 
by its virtues, was conspicuous 
for holiness, and beautiful with 
piety. * Since in God's temple, 

III. 1^7. The holy soldier of 
Christ, Edmund, full of the Holy 
Ghost, spoke to the king : Thy 
friendship does not make me 
deviate, nor thy threats and 
torments frighten me. * For it 
is glorious to die for the Lord. 
"ft. Fire and sword are sweet- 
to me above honey and the 
honeycomb. *For it is glori- 
ous, &c. Glory be to the 
Father, &c. For it is glorious 





Edmund indeed spoke, The Antigen 
xi TT i fM i of the second 
but it was even the Holy Ghost Noctiirn. 

Ant. Ait autem yEdmundus, 
sed et Spiritus Sanctus per os 
ejus : Non me terrent exilii speaking by his mouth : Threats 
mine, nee inclinant regis ami- of banislnnent do not frighten 
citie ; jocundum est pro Deo me, nor a king's offer of friend- 
me Deo ship move me. It is pleasant 
to die for God ; behold let it be 
given to me to become a sacri- 

mori ; ecce contingat 
sacrificium fieri. 

fice to God. 

Ps. Cum 

Ant. Vinctus ferro lamenta- 
bilibus illuditur modis ; atque 
stipite religatus, flagrisexuritur ; 
turn \arias mortis species pro 
Christo letus amplcctitur. 


Ant. Bound with chains, he 
is piteously mocked ; and tied 
to a tree, he is branded by 
scourges ; then he joyfully em- 
braces death in many forms for 
Christ's sake. 
Ps. Verba mea. 

Ant. In proportion to the 
glory of the reward, the pain 
also increased ; as a target is he 
set up, and covered over with 
darts ; and lie embraces a thou- 
sand deaths, while he beseeches 
Christ with a countenance un- 
Ps. Domine Dominus noster. 

Crescit ad penam 

Ant. Quo amplior esset mer- 
cedis gloria, accrevit et pena ; ad 
signuni positus telis obruitur ; et 
mille mortis species amplecti- 
tur ; Christumque sereno vultu 


sanctus Dei ; positus ad signuni 
confoditur nimbo verberum. * 
Et per omnia manet martyr in- 
victus et miles emeritus, y. 
Rivus sanguinis membratim de- 
currit, nee jam super est locus 
vulneris. * Et per omnia. 

V. R?. Martyri adhuc palpi- 
tanti, sed Christum confitenti, 
jussit Inguar caput auferri : * 
sicque ^dnnindus martyrium 

IV. I^T. The holy one of 

J The Response- 

God grows braver at the pain ; ries of the second 
, , . , . , Nocturn lessons, 
set up as a target, he is buried 

under a shower of arrows.* 
And through all the martyr 
stands unconquered and the 
soldier victorious. "ft. Streams 
of blood flow from limb to limb, 
nor is there now any more place 
for a wound. * And through 
all, &c. 

V. ty. The martyr still 
breathing, but confessing Christ, 
is ordered by Inguar to be be- 
headed.* And so Edmund con- 

consummavit, et ad Deum exul- summates his martyrdom, and 



tans vadit. l f. Caput sanc- 
titate plenum decollatviin resiliit 
inter verba orationis. * Sicque. 

VI. R/. Itefectum ergo de 
corpore caput plebs devota Deo 
requisitum pergit illacrimans et 
dicens :* Hen pastor bone ; heu 
pater pie Eadmunde, ubi es ? 
~f. Exaudivit Dominus cla- 
inorem pauperum, et suscepit 
gemitum servorum.* Hen. 
Gloria. Heu. 


The Antiplions Ant - Misso spiculatore, de- 

of the third crevit tyrannus Dei athletam 

yEdmundum capite detruncari : 

rejoicing goes to God. $". The 
head, full holy, severed from the 
body, rebounds uttering words of 
prayer. * And so, &c. 

R/. A people devoted to God 
set out to seek the head then 
apart from the body but living 
again. They shed tears and 
said : Alas, good shepherd, alas, 
kind father Edmund, where art 
thou ? y. The Lord has heard 
the cry of the poor, and He has 
received the groans of His ser- 
vants.* Alas ! &c. Glory be to 
the Father, &c. Alas ! &c. 

Ant. The guard dismissed, 
the tyrant decreed that God's 
champion Edmund should be be- 

ot the third 
Nocturn lessons. 

sicque hynmum Deo prsesonuit headed : and so he sounded forth 
et animam celo gaudens intulit. his hymn to God, and rejoicing 

brought his soul to heaven. 

Ps. In Domino confido. 

Ant. O martyr invincibilis, Ant. O invincible martyr ! 
O j^idmunde, testis indomabilis ! O Edmund, unconquerable wit- 
hie te dies terris exemit, et cum ness ! This day released thee 
triumpho in senatu celi recon- from the earth, and trium- 
didit : intercede pro nobis in phantly ushered thee into the 
celis, qui post te suspiramus in court of heaven ; intercede in 
terris. heaven for us who sigh after 

thee on earth. 

Ps. Domine quis habitabit. 

Ant. Refectum ergo de cor- Ant. A people devoted to 
pore caput plebs devota requisi- God set out to seek the head, 
turn pergit illacrimans et dicens : then apart from the body but 
Heu pastor bone, heu pater pie living again. They shed tears 
^Edmunde, ubi es ? and said : Alas ! good shepherd, 

alas, kind father Edmund, 
where art thou ? 
Ps. Posuisti Domine. 

VII. R;. Caput martyris verba VII. Rj. The martyr's head 
1 This R/. and its chant may be found in Jocelin, Caxton 
pub., vol. 13, p. 115. 



didit ; ecce quern queritis, 
inquit. Assam, filii.* Ecce me 
regem quondam vestrum, ecce 
me nunc patronum vobis ad 
Deum. y. Condoluit pater plus 
caris suis, quos benigno confor- 
tabat alloquio. * Ecce me. 

uttered words : Bebold whom 
you seek, it says. I am here, 
children. * Behold me, hereto- 
fore your king, behold me now 
your advocate with God. ~f. 
The kind father condoled with 
his beloved ones, whom he con- 
soled with benevolent words. 
* Behold me, &c. 

VIII. R/. Admirable was the 
finger of God upon him. * For 
a couching wolf mournfully 
watched over the martyr. ^. 
From joy at the wonder, the 
hearts of the people burst forth 
into tears. * For, &c. 

IX. R/. O invincible martyr ! 
O Edmund, unconquerable wit- 
ness ! This day released thee 
from earth, and triumphantly 
ushered thee into the court of 
heaven. * Intercede in heaven 
for us who send up our sighs to 
thee on earth. ~f. Shining 
before the throne of God in 
thy illustrious robe, we pray 
thee, O loving father, * inter- 
cede, &c. Glory be to the 
Father, &c. O martyr, our soul 
soars up to thee in our affliction. 
R/. Groaning over past offences, 
it mourns for its sins. O 
Edmund, king and martyr, our 
hope. R/. Receive graciously the 
VONYS of thy servants. Give to us 
joys in heaven. R/. Who on earth 
send forth deep sighs to thee. 

Te Deum laudamus, &*c. 


Ant. Quidam maligne mentis Ant. Certain evil-minded men 

, , i , . , The Aiiti])li<ins 

homines aggressi sunt nocturno approached under cover ot night a t Lau<ls. 

tempore infrin^ere Sancti basili- and attempted to break into the 
cam ; sed eos in ipao conatu saint's church ; but the martyr's 


VIII. R?. Admirabilis fuit 
et in illo digitus Dei. *Quia ad 
excubias martyris lupus procu- 
buit, fovit ac doluit. ~f. Ex 
jocunditate signi in lacrimas 
proruperunt corda populi. * 

IX. R/. O martyr invincibi- 
lis ! O Eadmunde testis indoma- 
bilis ! hie te dies terris exemit, 
et cum triumpho in celestis 
ouriae senatu recondidit : * in- 
tercede pro nobis in celis qui 
post te suspiramus in terris. 
~f. Collucens ante thronum 
Dei stola insigni, oramus, pater 
pie. * Intercede. Gloria. O 
martyr, suspirat anima nostra 
malis afflicta. R/. Lugensque 
peracta crimina plangit delicta. 
O ^dmunde rex martyr spes 
nostra. R/. Suscipe famulorum 
libens vota. Da nobis in celis 
gaudia. R/. Qui tibi longa sus- 
piria damns in terris. 




Tlit; Antiphon 

for the 

" Benedictus.' 

operis ligavit virtus martyris. 

2. Ant. Facto autem mane 
alius cum scala sua eminus 
pependit, alius tortis brachiis 
diriguit, quidam incurvus fossor 
stupuit, et ita quod quisque in- 
cepti habuit versa vice sibi pena 

3. Ant. Quidam masnepoten- 
tie vir Leofstanus, dum juvenilis 
non refrenavit impetum animi, 
in temeritatem incidit, accedens 
ad tumbam sci, jussit sibi ossa 
martyris ostendi. 

4. Ant. Reserato ergo locello, 
astitit, aspexit, et aspectu ne- 
quam, mox vexari cepit, tan- 
demque judicio perculsus divino 

5. Ant. O martyr magni 
meriti, qui virttitibus ita efflo- 
ruisti, intercede pro nobis. 

power bound them fast in the 
very act. 

2. Ant. In the morning one 
man hung aloft on his ladder, 
another stood immovable with 
his arms bent for work, a digger 
remained stupefied over his 
spade, and so what each one had 
undertaken turned against him 
and became a punishment. 

3. Ant. One Leofstan, a man 
of great power, from not curbing 
his violent nature in youth be- 
came reckless, and approaching 
the tomb of the saint, demanded 
that the bones of the martyr 
should be shown to him. 

4. Ant. The coffin was there- 
fore opened ; he stood and gazed 
therein, and by that wicked 
glance he began straightway to 
be tormented, and at last, 
stricken by the divine judgment, 
he perished. 

5. Ant. O martyr of great 
merit, who so flourished in all 
virtues, intercede for us. 

Hymn. Deus tuorum militum. 

Ad Benedictus Ant. Gloriosus 
Dei Athleta, /Edmundus, per re- 
giam dignitatem, insignem ob- 
tinuit victorire palmam ; unde 
mine fruitur societate ange- 
lorum, senatu apostolorum, 
contubernio martyrum, cujus 
ergo precibus adjuvari Rex 
Christe deposcimns. Alle. Alle. 

Antiphon at the Benedictus, 
Edmund, the glorious cham- 
pion of God, through the royal 
dignity, won the glorious palm 
of victory ; whence he now 
enjoys the society of the angels, 
the senatorial council of the 
apostles, the fellowship of the 
martyrs, by whose prayers there- 
fore we ask to be helped, O 
Christ our King. Alleluia. 
Alle. Alle. 

The antiphons and hymn of lauds were sung 
Vespers, again at the second vespers. But the following 


glorious invocation of the martyr formed the antiphon 
at the " Magnificat : " 

Ad Magnificat Ant. O Sane- Ant. at the Magnificat. O The Antiphou 

tissimi Patris /Edmundi, incliti saintly renown of our holy father " Magnificat.' 

regis et martyris, sancta pre- Edmund, glorious king and mar- 

conia, qui factus victima Deo tyr, who, having become a victim 

pro populo suo hodie assumptus to God for his people, was to-day 

est sacrificiuni laudis in odorem assumed into heaven, a sacrifice 

suavitatis ; hinc laus et gloria of praise in the odour of sweet- 

Deo et Christo suo atqne Spiritui ness : hence praise and glory to 

Sancto. Alleluia. God and to his Christ, and to the 

Holy Ghost. Alleluia. 

Besides the lections or lessons of the above office The Lessons of 

the feast. 

at least four other sets are extant. Those formerly 
used in the Basilica Saint-Sernin were compiled from 
the narratives of St. Abbo, William of Malmesbury, 
and Matthew of "Westminster, the tradition of St. 
Edmund's translation to Toulouse forming the sixth 
lesson. In the " Propre actuel " of Saint-Sernin, the 
lessons are the same as those in the supplement of 
the English-Benedictine breviary, with the addition 
of the Toulouse tradition. The lessons of the York 
breviary, which the Surtees Society has published, 
are of an ordinary type. The lessons of the Sarum The "Sanm. 


breviary, compiled by St. Osmund, are probably the 
most interesting of all those which were in use in 
the medieval Church, and will form a fair specimen of 
the style and tone of the rest. The old annalist of 
St. Edmund's, Paris, in copying them into his 
Chronicle remarks that, " though no more in use, 
yet they show what veneration antiquity held St. 
Edmund in." They run as follows : 

Lectio I. Lesson I. 

Provincise,qu;B et Anglia nun- Edmund, born of noble and 

cupatur, prsefuit S. Edmundus ancient Saxon stock, ruled over 

ex antiquorum Saxonum nobili the province which is called 



prosapia oriundtis, qui a prim- 
SBVO setatis tempore cultor 
veracissimus fidei extitit chris- 
tianse. Eodein tempore impius 
Hinguar cum altero, Hubba 
nomine, conatus est in extermi- 
nium adducere omnea fines 

Lectio II, 

Idem vero Hinguar post mul- 
torum interfectionem evocans 
quosdam plebeios quos suo gladio 
credidfb esse indignos, sciscita- 
tus est ab eis ubi eorum Rex 
tune vitam degeret : Audivit 
enim quod rex Edmundus 
fiorenti sctate et robustus viribus 
bello per omnia strenuus esset. 
Qui eo tempore morabatur in 
villa qure Eglisdone nominatur. 

Lectio III. 

Consuevit enim eadem Dan- 
orum natio nunquam palam cum 
hoste contendere nisi insidiis 
pnevento. Quapropter unum de 
commilitonibus dirigit ad Ed- 
mundum qui exploretur quse sit 
ei summa rei familiaris. Ipse 
autem cum multo comitatu sub- 
sequitur, ut improvisum facilius 
suis legibus subjugaret. Manda- 
verat autem iniquse legationis 
bajulo tyrannus iniquior ut in- 
cautum taliter alloquatur : 

Lectio IV. 

Terrte marisque metuendus 
Dominus noster Hinguar terras 
subjugando sibi armis, sed hujus 
provinciae optatum littus cum 

Anglia. From his very child- 
hood he was a most sincere 
observer of the Christian faith. 
At the same time the impious 
Hinguar and with him another 
named Hubba endeavoured to 
bring destruction and ruin 
through all the confines of 

Lesson II. 

This same Hinguar after the 
slaughter of many, calling to 
him some of the common people 
whom he deemed unworthy of 
his sword, asked where their 
king was tarrying. For he had 
heard that King Edmund, then 
in the flower of his age and in 
fulness of strength, was in every 
way vigorous in war. Edmund 
at that time was halting at his 
castle called Eglisdone. 
Lesson III. 

This same Danish nation would 
never contend with an enemy in 
the open field unless waylaid by 
stratagem. Therefore he sent 
one of his soldiers to Ed- 
mund's camp, to find out the 
greatest force at his command. 
Hinguar himself with a numerous 
retinue follows, in order the more 
easily to subject him, if unpre- 
pared, to accept his terms. The 
bearer of the iniquitous message 
was commanded by the more 
iniquitous tyrant to address the 
unsuspectingkingin these words: 
Lesson IV. 

Our lord Hinguar, terrible on 
land and sea by the subjugation 
of the nations by his arms, isnow 
about to winter with many ships 



multis navibus hyematurus 
applicuit, mandaiis ut cum eo 
antiques thesauros et paternas 
divitias sub eoregnaturus dividas 
vel morte morieris. 

Lectio V. 

Audito nuutio rex ingemuit, 
consulens unum de episcopis 
suis quid super his respondere 
deberet. Qui timens pro vita 
regis ad consentiendum pluri- 
mis exhortabatur exeniplis. Rex 
paululum conticuit, et sic de- 
mum post multa devota verba 
nuntio respondebat. Hoc dicas 
Dfio tuo : Noveris quod amore 
vitte temporalis, Christianus rex 
Edmundus se non subdet pagano 
duci, nisi prius compos eft'ectus 
fuerit nostnie religionis. 

Lectio VI. 

Vix egresso nuntio, ecce Hin- 
guar obvius illi jubet breviloquio 
uti. Quo verba Regis referente, 
imperat tyrannus circumfundi 
omnem turbam servorum, ut in- 
terius solumque Regem teneant, 
quern suis iniquis legibus cog- 
noverat jam rebellem. Tune S. 
Edmundus capitur, et vinculis 
constrictus sistitur ante ducem. 

Lectio VII. 

Tandem fatigatus acri in- 
stantia, perducitur ad arborem 
vicinam, ad quam adversarii 
eum ligantes, sagittis confodi- 
unt, in quo vulnera vulneribus 
locum dabant, dum jacula ja- 
culis imprimebantnr. Cumque 

on tbe pleasant shores of this 
province, and he sends, demand- 
ing that you reign under him, 
dividing with him your an- 
cient treasures and ancestral 
riches, or die the death. 
Lesson V. 

At this message the king 
groaned within himself, as lie ask- 
ed advice of one of his bishops 
what he should reply. Fearing 
for the life of his sovereign, the 
bishop urged him to bend like 
most others to the storm. For 
a little while-the king was silent. 
At length, after much devout 
prayer, he replied to the mes- 
senger : Tell this to your mas- 
ter : Know that the Christian 
king Edmund will not subject 
himself for love of earthly life to 
any pagan ruler, who has not first 
become a follower of our religion. 
Lesson VI. 

Scarcely had the messenger 
appeared, when Hinguar met 
him, and ordered him to be brief, 
On the report of the king's words 
the tyrant commands all his 
horde of followers to surround 
the place and to keep the king 
only inside, who, he knew, had 
rejected his iniquitous terms. 
Then St. Edmund is taken 
prisoner, and bound with chains, 
and brought before the chief. 
Lesson VII. 

At length, worn out by their 
bitter persistence, he is led to a 
neighbouring tree, to which his 
enemies bind him : and they 
transfix him with arrows. 
Wounds gave way to wounds, 
while arrow pressed arrow. And 



nee sic a laude Dei cessaret inter 
verba orationis capita truncatus 

Lectio VIII. 

Dani vero relinquentes cor- 
pus, caput in silvam recedentes 
asportaverunt, atque inter densa 
veprium fruteta occultarunt ; 
quibus abeuntibus, Christiani 
corpus invenientes, caput qufesi- 
erunt : atque Ubi es ? aliis ad 
alios in silva clamantibus, caput 
respondit : Her, Her, Her, quod 
est, Hie, Hie, Hie, nee ea re- 
petere destitit, donee omnes ad 
se perduxit. 

Lectio IX. 

Huic etiam miraculo Doininus 
addidit aliud, dum coelesti thes- 
auro insolitum custodem dedit. 
Immanis siquidem lupus caput 
sanctum inter brachia complec- 
tens ab omnibus feris et avibus 
intactum custodivit, et defer- 
entes illud ad corpus usque ad 
locum sepulchri, humiliter se- 
quebatur. Quo cum corpore 
sepulto, lupus nullum Isedens 
ad silvam rediit festinanter. 

when, even in these straits, he 
would not cease from the praise 
of God, his head was struck from 
the body amid words of prayer. 
Lesson VIII. 

The Danes leaving the body, 
carried the head into the depths 
of the wood, where they hid it 
in the thick undergrowth of 
briars. When they had gone 
away, the Christians finding the 
body, began to search for the 
head. And while they cried to 
one another in the wood saying : 
Where art thou? the head an- 
swered : Here, Here, Here, 
nor did it cease to repeat that 
word until it had brought them 
all to itself. 

Lesson IX. 

To this miracle the Lord added 
even another, by placing an un- 
usual guardian over the heavenly 
treasure. A savage wolf hold- 
ing the sacred head within its 
forefeet, guarded it untouched 
from all wild beasts and birds, 
and afterwards it tamely fol- 
lowed those who bore it to the 
body, even to the place of 
sepulchre. When the body was 
buried, the wolf, without hurt- 
ing any one, speedily returned 
to the forest. 

Lesson for the The following lesson for the feast of St. Edmund's 

feast of St. 

totion nd>s trans " translation occurs in an old breviary in Clare College 
Library, Oxford : 

Anno ab incarnatione Domini In the year 1095 from our 

millesimo nonagesimo quinto, a Lord's Incarnation, and the 

passione Sancti Edmundi Regis 225th from St. Edmund the 

et Marty ris ducentesimo vicesimo King and Martyr's passion, in 



tbe third indiction, during tbe 
reign of William II. in England 
and the pontificate of the vener- 
able Herbert at Norwich, while 
Abbot Baldwin presided over the 
church of St. Edmund, Wakelin 
bishop of Winchester, with his 
attendants and other religious 
and noble men of Eclmundsbury, 
at the hour of terce, entering 
the church, in pontitical array, 
consecrated and blessed water, 
and sprinkled it,it being Sunday, 
the third of the calends of 
May. Then after long prayer 
ottered up by those standing 
around, he uncovers the wooden 
coffin in which the incorrupt 
and venerable body rests. At 
this point the said bishop began 
the chant : This saint strove 
for the law of his God even to 
death and feared not the gibes of 
the impious ; for he was founded 
upon a firm rock. When the 
shrine was opened so great a 
fragrance of most sweet odour 
issued from it that those present 
thought themselves transported 
to paradise. And thus took 
place the translation of Blessed 
Edmund the martyr's body in 
the year and day above men- 
tioned, to the great joy of the 
people, for a perpetual memorial 
to the whole English nation and 
to the glory of all the saints, to 
rise in time to come to everlast- 
ing bliss. 

quinto, indictione tertia, re- 
gnante rege Willelmo in 
Anglia secundo, venerabili viro 
Herberto apud Norwicam pon- 
titicante, et Abbate Baldcwyno 
ecclesiam Sancti Ediuundi 
tenente, Wakelinus Wintonien- 
sis Episcopus cum bis et aliis 
viris religiosis et honestis apud 
Edniundisberi, tertio calendas 
Mail, die Dominica, bora jam 
tertia, intrans ecclesiam, more 
pontificali, aquaiu consecravit 
benedixit et aspersit. Deinde 
detegitur locellns ligneus post 
longam orationem a circumstan- 
tibus factam, in quo inconta- 
minatum ac venerabile quiescit 
corpus. Sic dictus pontifex 
liuniili voce incboans et psalmo- 
diaus, Iste Sanctus pro lege Dei 
sui certavit usque ad mortem et 
a verbis impionun non timuit ; 
f undatus enim erat supra tirmam 
petram. Aperto monumento, 
tanta ex eo odoris suavissimi fra- 
grantia emanavit, nt quiaderunt 
in paradisi deliciis se constitutes 
existimarent. Transfertur ita- 
que corpus incorruptum beati 
Ediuundi Martyris anno et die 
supradictis, ad magnam populi 
l;etitiaiu,totius gentis Anglicana? 
perpetuam memoriam, omnium- 
que sanctorum gloriam, in futuro 
resurrecturum ad beatitudinem 

All eleventh century manuscript in the Lambeth 

hymns in honour 

Library 1 gives an addition to the rest of the office ofst - E ' limin <<- 

MS. 362, fol. 11. 



Hyiuu fur 

Hymn for 

in the form of the following hymns for St. Edmund's 
feast, which the Surtees Society has printed in its 
collection of Latin hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church. 1 

Ad Vesperas. 

Eadmundus martyr inclytus, 
Anglorum rex sanctissimus, 
Hac luce palinam nobilem 
Triuniphans celos intulit. 

Tulit jubar hoc splendidum 
Opima tellus Anglica, 
Quo splendet omne seculum 
Et cells crescitgaudium. 

Quorum murmur pauperum 
Exaudiat sacrarium 
Et ad celestis perferat 
Regis plus causidicus. 

Favorem Cbristi celitus 
Nostris piaclis impetret, 
Orbs ut gravata sentiat 
Donativum indulgentise. 

Precantum votis annuat 
Pater Deus cum Filio, 
Simul cum Sancto Spiritu 
Per seculorum secula. 

Ad Matutinum. 
Laurea regni redimitus olim, 
Rex Eadmundus, decus orbis 

Nuncsuisadsit famulis precamur 

Supplici voto. 

At Vespers. 

Edmund, renowned martyr, 
Most holy king of the English, 
At this hour of even, the noble 

palm of victory 
Into heaven with triumph bore. 

This brilliant radiance 
The fertile land of England bore; 
By it each epoch shines resplen- 
And the joys of heaven increase. 

The plaints of all the poor 
May he our loving advocate 
graciously hear [of Holies 
And convey them into the Holy 
Of our celestial King. 

May he in heaven beseech 
Christ's favour for our sins, 
That the burdened world may 

The Lord's indulgent pardon. 

Grant the vows of those who 

O God the Father, with the Son, 
Together with the Holy Spirit, 
Through the eternal ages. 


At Matins. 

Once crowned with the wreath 
of earthly power, [world, 

King Edmund, glory of this 
Now to be present with his ser- 
vants we beseech 
By suppliant vows. 

1 Vol. 23. The editor has used MS. Cott. Vesp. D. fol. 116, 
a twelfth century copy, instead of the Lambeth MS. The version 
in the text has been collated with the older and more correct copy. 
The ancient spelling has been retained. 



Hac die cell frnitur secretis This day he enjoys the secrets 

Quatriuraphalemmeruitcoronam, of heaven ; [umphal crown, 

Nactus ex Dani gladiis tyranni This day he merited the tri- 

Sanguine pahnani. Having won from the swords of 

the tyrant Dane 
By his blood the palm of victory. 

Cujus exsectuni caput ore prono His head, severed while his face 

Trux lupus fovit famulatus illi, 
Donee ad ustuni rediit cadaver 
Vulneris expers. 

Unde Rex martyr tibi magnus 
heres, [purus, 

Integer membris maculreque 
Fungeris digno meritis hnnore 
Talibus hymnis. 

Sit honor Patri jugisetperhennis, 
Qui tuossignisdecorattriumphos, 
Cujus obtentu pins ipse pascat 
Trinus et unus. 


Ad Ltiudes. 
Laus et corona inilitum, 
Jesu, tibi certantium, 
Hnjus triumpho subditis 
Intende regis martyris. 

Hac rex Eadmundus die 
Raptus cruento scammate, 
Sese flagrorum stigmati 
Celo receptus exuit. 

Devinctus acri stipite, 
Loris cruentis undique, 

was bent, 

A grim wolf attendant guarded, 
Until it returned to the bereav- 
ed body, 
Then free from wound. 

Whence, martyr king, our great 
master [from stain, 

Whole in all thy limbs, and free 
Thou deservedly boldest honour 
worthy of such hymns 
As we now sing to thee. 

Honour to the Father, always 
and for ever, [triumphs. 

Who by miracles adorns thy 
At thy request may He Him 
self most loving feed us, 
Hewhoisoneandthree. Amen. 

At Lauds. 

O Jesus, glory and crown Hymn 

Of those soldiers who strive for I ' awls - 

thee, [martyr 

By the triumph of this royal 
Bend thine ear to his subjects' 


On this day King Edmund, 
Snatched away from the blood- 
stained arena, 

Rid himself of the lash's stigma 
And was received by the hea- 
venly court. 

Fastened to the galling tree 
On all sides bound by the blood- 
stained thongs, 



The ancient 
" Mass." 

tribunal execrat 
Ac nuiueii ejus improbat. 

Qui terebratus spiculis 
liegis cruorem combibit, 
Quern pro suis lidelibus 
Velle niori conjicimus. 

Nos hac Eadmundus die 
Hex Martyr optet grade, 
Qua perlruamur celitum 
Bonis per oume seculum. 


He execrates the Danish court 
And rejects its favour. 

Now pierced with arrow-points, 
He drinks the chalice with that 


Who, we preach, willed to die 
For his faithful people. 

May Edmund king and martyr 
On this day choose for us the 

grace [things 

By which we may enjoy good 
Through all the heavenly ages. 

The ancient " Mass " for >St. Edmund's feast had 
its own collect, secret and postcoinmunion, the same 
as those still in use among the English Benedictines 
with the exception of the few verbal differences 
which are here noticed : 

The Secret. 


Deus ineftabilis misericordine, 
qui beatissimo regi Edmundo 
(beatissimum regein Edmundum 
Sarum, Lambeth, St. Abbo ; 
beato regi Edmundo Propre 
Saint-Sernin, 1672) tribuisti 
iuimicum pro tuo nomine (pro 
tuo nomine inimicum Sarum, 
Lambeth and St. Abbo) moriendo 
vincere ; concede propitius huic 
(huic omitted, Lambeth, St. 

Abbo, Propre Saint-Sernin, 1672) 
familiae tua? ut eo interveniente 
mereatur in se antiqui hostis 
incitamenta superando extin- 
guere (incitamenta superare 
Propre Saint-Sernin, 1672). Per 


Hoc sacrificium redemptionis 
(devotionis St. Abbo and Lam- 
beth) nostrae quaesumus Omni- 


O Uod of unspeakable mercy, 
who hath granted to the most 
blessed king Edmund, by dying 
for Thy name, to conquer the 
enemy, graciously give to this 
Thy family, by his intercession, 
the grace to overcome and ex- 
tinguish in ourselves the incite- 
ments to evil of our ancient 
enemy, through our Lord Jesus 
Christ, &c. 


Translation. In Thy clemency, 
O omnipotent God, regard this 
sacrifice of our redemption, and 



potens Deus, clementer respice, 
et intercedente beato Edmundo 
rege et martyre (tuo St. Abbo) 
pro hac familia tua placatus 
assume (per hoc nobis salutem 
mentis et corporis benignus im- 
pende St. Abbo). 

Sint tibi Omnipotens Deus 
grata nostrae servitutis obsequia, 
et haec sancta quse sumpsimus, 
intercedente beato Edmundo 
rege et martyre tuo.prosint nobis 
ad capessenda preruia vitse per- 

through the intercession of the 
blessed king and martyr, Ed- 
mund, favourably accept it in 
behalf of this Thy family. 

Posteommunion. The Post- 

rr< j ., HT ii i communion. 

Translation. May the homage 

of our service be pleasing to thee, 
Almighty God, and may these 
holy oblations which we have 
received, by the intercession of 
Blessed Edmund king and 

martyr, be profitable to us for 
the gaining of the rewards of 
eternal life. 

The Church of Toulouse now uses this collect : 

Deus, qui Beatum Edmun- 
dum, per martyrii palmam, a 
terreno principatu ad celestem 
gloriam transtulisti, concede 
propitius, ut quod ipsi pnestitit 
inter tormenta constantiam ad- 
versushostis antiqui incitamenta 
nos fortes eliiciat nomen Domini 
nostri Jesu Christ! Filii tui, 
qui tecum vivit. 

Translation. O God, who hath 
translated Blessed Edmund, by 
the victory of martyrdom, from 
earthly sovereignty to heavenly 
glory ; mercifully grant that the 
name of Thy Son Jesus Christ, 
which gave him constancy in his 
torments, may make us strong 
against the incitements of our 
old enemy. Who with Thee, &c. 

The following sequence, the composition of Monk A sequence. 
William of Ramsey, is from the old breviary of Clare 
College Library, Cambridge : 

Profitendo fidem solam 

Rex Edmund us suain stolam 

Lavit Agni sanguine. 
Signum factus ad sagittam 
Penam necis exquisitam 

Fert pro Christi nomine. 

By professing the only faith, 
King Edmund washed his stole 

In the blood of the Lamb. 
Made a mark for their arrows 
He bore the searching pain of 


For the name of Christ. 



Perforatur mille telis, 
Decollator rex fidelis, 

Pro grege fidelium. 
Caput exit in loquelam, 
Cui lupus dat tutelam ; 

Prjedo patrocinium. 

Sepelitur caro cresa, 
Laniata sed illresa, 

De sepulchro tollitur. 
Sed pro nece sic allata 
Vena quasi deaurata 

Collo circumducitur. 

Ungues ejus et capillos 
Tondet anus ; stupet illos 

Tot annis recrescere. 
Opus furum inanitur ; 
Judex perit ; rex punitur ; 

Rota fertur aere. 

Domus ardet sacerdotis ; 
Claudi saltant, et regrotis 

Praestantur remedia. 
Qui sic fecit et medetur 
Pronioveri nos dignetur 

Ad sterna gaudia. 


He is pierced with a thousand 

The faithful king is beheaded 

For the fold of the faithful. 
His head breaks out into speech, 
Over it a wolf stands guard, 

Aprowlingbeast its protection. 
The slain flesh is buried, 
Torn but unhurt, 

It is taken from the tomb. 
But for death so borne, 
A vein like to a chain of gold 

Is thrown around his neck. 

His nails and his hair an aged 

woman trims ; 
She wondersthattheygrow again 

So many years. 
An attempt of robbers comes to 

nought ; [punished ; 

A judge perishes ; a king is 

A wheel is held in mid-air. 
The priest's house is consumed 

with flames ; 
The lame dance, and to the sick 

Cures are granted. 
May He who so works and cures, 
Deign to advance us 

To everlasting joys. 


TWO Prefaces. St. Abbo and the Lambeth manuscript give proper 
prefaces for St. Edmund's day, the former a long 
the latter a shorter one. These prefaces, in no way 
inferior in sublimity and feeling to other compositions of 
a similar nature, worthily complete the ancient 
liturgical honours of the saint. 

surviving Besides these pious records a few other memorials of 

memorials of St. 

Edmund. a devotion now rare have also survived. Hunstanton 
perpetuates in its very name the gentleness and valour 
of St. Edmund and his followers, x arid the tradition 

See p. 50. 


of their landing even now surrounds it. The 
miraculous wells may still be seen bubbling from 
the earth near St. Mary's in Old Hunstanton ; the 
promontory sheltering the creek is called to this 
day St. Edmund's Point, and near the light-house 
which crowns it the foundations of St. Edmund's 
chapel and retreat still remain. In many parts of 
the eastern counties, other traditions more or less Traditions, 
vague exist, confirming and supplementing chronicle 
and record, though possessing no tangible memorial 
of the martyr beyond his name, like Caistor St. 
Edmund's, and the carved invocation " Ste Edmunde, 
ora pro nobis," around the west-door of the old 
church at Southwold. More interesting and definite, 
however, are the ancient portraits of the saint, not- p 01 .t,. a its. 
ably in the initial letter of one of the Lucca manu- 
scripts, l in an old glass-painted window in Hardwick 
House, near Bury, in the quatre-foil of the south 
chancel window of St. James' church at Bury itself, 
and among the saints in the frontispiece of Capgrave's 
" Xova Legenda Anglire." Four busts of the saint 
are also visible, carved on the helves of the panels 
of the roof in St. Mary's church at Bury. One holds 
a scroll or psalter ; another a sceptre in the right 
hand ; the third has a sword in the right hand, and 
a sceptre in the left ; the fourth holds an arrow in 
the right hand and a sceptre in the left. Yates 
writes that in one of the south windows of Merton 
church St. Edmund is also represented in his regalia, 
arrow in hand, with the kneeling form of Sir Robert 
Clifton, Knt., at his feet, from whose mouth waves a 
scroll having on it, " Sancte Edmunde, ora pro nobis." 2 

1 MS. Bibl., Canon., PI. ix. F. p. 102. 

3 Yates' History of St. Edmund's Bury contains numerous plates 
of other memorials of St. Edmund which existed in his day, 
A.D. 1805, and among them two carved heads. 


sculptures and The scene of the saint's martyrdom is found 

pictures of the 

legend of sculptured at the foot of Hugh of IN orthwold s tomb 

St. Edmund. 

in Ely cathedral, which he in a great measure built 
during his episcopate, 1 and the fretwork roof of St. 
Edmund's chapel behind the high altar of Tewkes- 
bury abbey church represents the same event. 2 The 
wolf guarding the martyr's head, which formed the 
seal of the sacrist, Walter de Banham, 3 is sculptured 
under one of the perpendicular windows of Moyse's 
Hall at Bury St. Edmund's, and in Hoxne church 
is a fine old poppy head carved with the same legend, 4 
while the Jesuits at Bury possess an antique sculpture 
of the saint, with armour and spear, as he appeared 
The v-'o pictures to King Sweyn. The hundred and twenty pictures 

in Lydgate's . . 

poem. in Lydgate s famous poem represent with the rich- 

ness of mediaval illumination all the principal scenes 
in the saint's history, together with a coloured 
frontispiece of St. Edmund's banner, 6 the arms, three 
crowns d'or on azure ground, 7 the shrine with King 
Henry VI. kneeling at it, 8 the early miracles, the 
building of the great church, and the translation of 

1 Hugh was Abbot of St. Edmund's Bury, but died Bishop of Ely 
in 1254. 

2 Yates, p. 44. See also the seal of the friars of Norwich in the 
same work, PI. vi. 

3 Ibid. In this seal the wolf is under a tree, holding in its paws 
St. Edmund's head. 

4 Ibid., PI. i. and PI. ii. 

5 Harl. MS. 2278. 

6 See also the Camden edition of Jocelin's Chronicle, vol. 13, p. 

7 See also the initial letter in Dugdale's "Monasticon," vol. iii. 
edit. 1821, p. 98, and Bloomfield's "Norfolk," p. 387, where the 
author says that the arms which he gives are sketches from the 
windows of Winfarthing church in Norfolk and were seen there in 
1600, although all others except those relating to St. Edmund had 
been defaced. 

8 See also Dugdale's "Monasticon," vol. iii. edit. 1821, under 
St. Edmund's Bury ; Knight's " Old England," vol. i. no. 463. 


the incorrupt body. Part of the device of St. Ed- 
mund's banner may also be seen carved on one of the 
bosses in the north aisle of St. Mary's church at Bury. 
Among all these relics of a past history the little 
wooden church at Greenstead in Essex stands unique. Grcenst 


In antiquity it surpasses St.-Sernin, the martyr's modern 
resting-place. Built of wooden planks in the year 
1013 to shelter St. Edmund's body on its way from 
London, it was preserved with care and reverence 
till the sixteenth century. Then, being considered 
valueless, it escaped the destruction which befell so 
many venerable sanctuaries and has survived to 
the present day, 1 more happy in that respect than 
the grander patrimony of St. Edmund, whose growth 
and magnificence as a record of devotio^ to a hero 
are treated of in the following chapter. 

Lastly, the history of the devotion of ages to St. 
Edmund carries pilgrim and antiquarian back to the Hoxne. 
place of martyrdom. On the spot where the oak 
grew to which the royal martyr was bound, rises a 
memorial in the shape of a stone cross, on one side of 
which is the inscription : 



On the other side is inscribed : 


1 See Knight's " Old England," vol. i. print no. 306 ; Palgrave's 
" Antiquities of Norfolk and Suffolk," vol. i. p. 82; Suckling's 
" Antiquities and Architecture of Essex," p. 4. 

2 The late Sir Edward Kerrison, who erected this monument, 
was not so happy in rebuilding the bridge over the Gold Brook, as 
it is called, to perpetuate the fable that St. Edmund fled before 
his martyrdom and hid under the arch of a former bridge, under 
which he was discovered by his golden spurs. 


St. Edmund's Patrimony. 

[Authorities In the 10th century the so-called Reformers wrecked all the great 
libraries of England, and among them that of St. Edmund's Bury, and de- 
stroyed or scattered their literary and historical treasures. Many of the 
chartularies of St. Edmund's abbey, however, were saved and are now the 
most numerous extant of any old religious house of England. Dugdale 
(" Monasticon Anglieanum," vol. iii. p. 98, edit. 1821) devotes seventy-eight 
folio pages to their enumeration and a digest of their contents. They supply 
abundant material for a valuable and authentic history of St. Edmund's 
patrimony, of which this chapter is intended to be only a sketch. Much 
useful information is also contained in the " Antiquitates S. Edmnndi Burgi," 
Joannis Battely, S.T.D., Archidiaconi Cantuariensis, Opera Posthuma, Ac., 
Oxoniae : E. Theatre Sheldoniano, A.D. MDCCXLV. , which is printed and 
published as a supplement to the "Antiquitates Rutupinae" (Rich borough) 
of the same author. The ''Illustration of the Monastic Historv and Antiqui- 
ties of the Town and Abbey of St. Edmundsbury," by the Rev. Richard 
Yates, F.S.A., of Jesus College, Cambridge, <fec., <fcc., London, 1805, is also a 
work of great antiquarian value. Both Battely and Yates illustrate their 
pages with plans and sketches of the monastic buildings and their remains. 
Gillingwater's " Historical and Descriptive Account of St. Edmund's Bnry," 
published in 1804, and now a rare book, contains many interesting notes on 
the old abbey. Sir James Borrough's " History of Bury," Morant's " History 
of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmund's," and Green's "Description of the 
Ancient and Present iState of the Town and Abbey of Bury St. Edmund's," 
supplement other authors. William of Worcester, a native of Bristol, gives 
the various dimensions of the abbey and its buildings, which he took himself 
when on a visit to the abbey in the reign of the Sixth Henry (A.D. 1479.) The 
"Annals" of Dom Bennet Weldon, O.S.B., preserved at the English College, 
Douai, the "Chronological Notes" by the same author, edited by a monk of 
Downside, the " Downside Review" of July, 1887, and the useful history of 
the " Etablisseinents Religieux Britanniques Fondes a Douai, <fcc.," (Douai : 
Lucien Crepin, editeur, 1880) supply most of the information required respect- 
ing the modern patrimony of St. Edmund.] 

Bury. THE town of Bury in Suffolk is the modern represen- 
tative of the abbey and town which rose over and 
around the shrine of East England's martyr king. It 
staaids in the centre of that western division of the 
county which was called the liberty, franchise or 
patrimony of St. Edmund. Now, though only a 
shadow of the magnificent past, having rejected even 
the name of the saint to whom it owes its existence, 
Bury is a bright and cheerful town, looking out 
right smilingly towards the eastern sun from the 


grassy slope along which it stretches for a mile and 

a half, and whose base is washed by the rivers 

Linnet and Lark. Around, the alternate green and, 

in autumn, the famous yellow barley frame its clean 

brick houses and its ancient streets in emerald and 

gold. The taste and feeling of the inhabitants have 

considerably improved the natural beauty of the 

town's position, and municipal enterprise has paved, 

lighted and drained its wide streets and its numerous 

and spacious squares. These advantages, enhanced 

by the dry and invigorating air, the vicinity of the 

University of Cambridge, the numerous schools and 

civil and polite institutions, have combined to make 

it a favourite resort for the refined and educated. 

Only one feature casts a gloom over the scene. In 

the midst of botanic gardens, bowling greens, private 

lawns, fields and a few houses and public buildings, The site of tin 

dark reefs of broken walls rise mournfully here and 

there, to tell of the destruction of the abbey which 

once towered to heaven on this spot. 

On the east, the neighbouring waters reflect a ii.e ruin* 
fringe of sable and mouldering ruins on their banks; 
over the juncture of the two streams the dismantled 
iirches of the abbot's bridge stretch their grim and 
moss-covered masonry ; on the western slope, some 
pieces of broken sculpture, a solitary pier or grass- 
grown mound repeat the sad history of destruction 
and sacrilege. Here a wall or window marks the 
refectory, dormitory or guest house ; there the rising 
ground the cloisters or chapter house of the second 
largest abbey in England. 1 Part of the old embattled 
walls, two lofty sculptured and storied gateways, 

1 For views of the ruins in 1745, see Battely's " Antiquitates S. 
Edmundi Burgi " and Knight's "Old England," vol. i. prints 691, 
692, 693. The "Antiquarian and Topographical Cabinet" also 
gives three views of St. Edmund's Bury. 



two of the three magnificent churches which stood 
attendant on the abbey church, still define the western 
boundary of the monastic precincts. 1 
The remains <>r But amid these faint rays of a glorious past, the 

the great church. -11- c .1 , i -T i. v. 

stranger looks in vain tor the great basilica which 
canopied St. Edmund's shrine. A few straggling ruins 
alone remain. A dilapidated tower converted into a 
stable, and three defaced archways, originally the portals 
of the church and now filled in with houses, alone mark 
the western front. Eastwards in a private garden, 
the bases of a line of pillars tell of the transepts 
and their columned chapels ; and one broken group 
of the stately piers, which supported the central 
tower, stands solitary, hiding its grief under weeds 
of sable ivy. These are the last remnant of the 
high altar, the choir, the presbytery, and the 
" Holy of Holies," where the martyr's body reposed 
for centuries. No memory of the saint is perpetuated 
in the place, but the great event in the history of 
England due to his influence and that of the religious 
house which guarded his tomb is recorded on one 
A memento of of three tablets of stone. The sacrarium reqis is 

the past. 

forgotten, but the cunabula legis 2 is commemorated 
in the following lines : 


ON THE 20 r ra OP NOVEMBER, A.D. 1215, 







1 See Willis' " Parliamentary Abbeys," vol. i. p. 8. 
8 "The shrine of the king, the cradle of the law," the motto of 
Bury town. 


" Where the rude buttress totters to its fall, 
And ivy mantles o'er the crumbled wall, 
Where e'en the skilful eye can scarcely trace 
The once High Altar's lowly resting-place 
Let patriotic fancy muse awhile 
Amid the ruins of this ancient pile. 
Six weary centuries have passed away, 
Palace and Abbey moulder in decay ; 
Cold death enshrouds the learned and the brave ; 
LANGTON, FITZWALTER, slumber in the grave. 
But still we read in deathless records how 
The high soul'd priest confirmed the Barons' vow ; 
And FREEDOM unforgetful still recites 
This second birthplace of our native Rights." 

" Euina splendida," exclaimed Leland, just after the 
dissolution, "quam quicunque intueatur, et admiretur 
et simul commisereatur." " Splendid ruin ! whoever 
sees it admires and pities." 

"This abbey, the owner and indeed the creator of TI.O ai.uty 
*St. Edmund's town, itself owner of wide lands and Before the * 


revenues," 1 at the beginning of the sixteenth 
century " stood proudly eminent, surpassing almost 
all the monasteries of England." - The old antiquary 
Leland, on seeing its far-spreading cloisters and its 
countless towers and spires rising to the sky, was 
unable to contain his admiration. "The sun," he 
wrote, "hath not shone on a town more delightfully 
situated on a gradual and easy descent with a small 
river flowing on the eastern part, or a monastery 
more illustrious, whether we consider its wealth, 
extent, or its incomparable magnificence. You might, ltsextL . llta)lll 
indeed, say that the monastery itself is a town, so '" a ^ iflcence - 
many gates there are, some of them of brass, so 
many towers, and a stately church, than which none 
can be more magnificent, upon which attend three 
others also, standing gloriously in one and the same 
church-yard, all splendidly adorned with curious 
1 Carlyle. - William of Malmesbury. 


workmanship." These buildings covered twenty-three 
acres of ground, not including the vineyard of six 
acres and the "Walnut-tree yard" on the eastern 
bank of the river Lark. A lofty embattled wall l 

it* boundaries, and a deep ditch 2 bounded this area on three sides, 
the two rivers on the fourth. Towering above the 
walls rose the four majestic gates which led into 
the precincts. The western boundary measured 1,100 
feet, and presented a glorious frontage embellished 
by two superb and stately gates and the facades of 
St. James' and St. Mary's churches. The abbey-gate, 3 
62 feet high, ">0 long and 41 broad, led into the 

The abbey great northern courtyard of the abbey. Ornamented 

cnti-am-f. , 

with carved device, canopied niche and heaven-aspiring 
pinnacle, it ranked as one of the most beautiful gate- 
ways in England. 4 Just within its archway an 
outer portcullis, and 15 feet farther inwards gates of 
massive iron and polished brass, defended the entrance. 
Beyond the inner gates, in the inside wall to the right, 
a doorway opened into the lodge, where the brother 
porter and his deputy attended to receive strangers and 
announce them to the abbot; 5 and two staircases in 

1 Built by Hervey the sacrist at the beginning of the 12th century. 

2 Several instances occur of drowning in this ditch, which was 
filled up about the year 1750. 

3 The original gate was destroyed by rioters in 1327, and after- 
wards re-erected by them in reparation for their offence. 

4 This gateway has been well illustrated by Britton in his. 
"Architectural Antiquities," vol. iii. p. 88 et seq. ; Morant and 
others have minutely described it. 

5 According to the regulations for the reception of guests, the 
abbot, when at home, received all guests, whatsoever their condition, 
except religious and priests of secular habit and their men. In the 
absence of the abbot, the cellarer received all guests of whatsoever 
condition up to 13 horses. If a layman or a cleric came with more 
than 13 horses, the abbot's servants entertained them either within 
the guest-house or without at the abbot's expense. All religious 
men, even bishops who were not monks, were charged upon the 


octagon corner-turrets led to the spacious chamber 
above, where abbot or monks gave audience to illus- 
trious guests. 1 The guest-house, 25 yards long, with T)>uet-)ious. 
its store-rooms, almonry and chapel of St. Lawrence, 
extended along the western wall on the right of the 
gateway.- A magnificent spectacle met the eye Thereat e.>m-t- 


from the Hat roof of the abbey tower, or from 
its audience-chamber, as it ranged towards the 
east. Below lay the " Great Court " of the abbey, 
four acres in extent ; on the north of which 
the stables and offices, 500 feet in length and The Babies 

and ofti<.-es mi 

.'50 wide, stretched east and west, cut off from the north. 

oellary at the expense of the convent, unless the abbot wished to do 
them special honour and entertain them in his own palace at his 
own expense. 

1 This reception room or audience-chamber is 50 feet by 30, 
lighted on three sides by windows ; on the fourth side is a fire-place 
and garde-robe. 

- During Samson's abbacy Hugh the sacrist replaced the wooden 
guest-house by one of stone, covering an area '25 yards by 11 in 
extent, the expense being defrayed by "much of what Brother 
Walter the physician had acquired by his practice of physic." In 
this building was the large store-room, which the guest-master was 
bound to keep well supplied with beds, seats, tables, towels and 
similar articles ready for strangers and pilgrims, and also with bread, 
beer and other necessary viands. The monk in charge of the gates 
and the adjoining spacious and roomy guest-house introduced all 
visitors to the abbot and convent, conducted them to the refectory, 
church and cloisters, and procured for them every accommodation 
according to their rank and character. The almonry was attended 
by the almoner, who distributed the alms and charitable donations 
of the convent to pilgrims, travellers and the poor, who came to 
the abbey gate. On founders' days and other obits and anniver- 
saries he gave out the fjifts, and he and his servants attended tho 
dinner of the abbot and monks to receive from them whatever they 
handed him from their portions. After their departure he could 
collect what they left of their charity. He purchased annually 
before Christmas cloth and shoes for widows and orphans and the 
poor clergy. He renewed the mats in the choir cloister, &c., and 
made other small provisions. 


the court by an embattled wall. Here the abbot 

lodged the horses up to 100, and the retainers 

of any nobleman or prelate who visited the town, 1 

for at least one night without remuneration. The 

north gate rose in the midst of, and above, the 

offices, with the prison and hall of pleas at its side ; 

The ceiiaivr's the store-houses, bakery, brewery and the cellarer's 

beyond. house adjoined. Farther on lay the cellarer's yard 

formerly the manse of Beodric, at whose north-east 

corner the abbot's bridge spanned the united rivers. 

The abbot's The abbot's "palace," 240 feet in length, occu- 

lialace on the i ,1 i n , -, i i 

east. pied the east end of the abbey court, communi- 

cating with the offices on the north and the 
conventual buildings on the south. 2 In the centre 
a high turret facing the spectator contained the 
staircase, which led from a lower chamber supported 
by ten pillars to the abbot's dining-hall above. At 
the back of the "palace" the abbot's two "garners" 
stood, and a wall, which separated the abbot's garden 
from the cellarer's yard, ran down to the "dovecote," 

ue'Vnd" or summer-house on the banks of the river. The 

view on the east side of the abbot's palace carried 
the eye over the abbot's garden down the river 
Linnet, beyond which flowed the Lark. In the narrow 

1 Part of the north wall of these offices remains, and their south 
wall, which forms the northern enclosure of the court, is nearly entire. 
Three entrances and seven windows may still (1872) be seen therein. 
The stables and offices were thatched until Abbot Samson's time, but 
with the assistance of Hugh the sacrist he stone-roofed them, " so 
all peril and danger of fire was prevented." 

- The abbot's palace, built by Geoffrey the sacrist in the reign 
of Henry I., having been consumed by fire, was rebuilt by Hugh 
the sacrist in 1155. From 1685 to 1688 the Jesuits seem to have 
had a chapel and residence in it. It was used as a dwelling house 
till 1720. On the southern side the crypt of the abbot's dining-hall 
may still be seen. It is 55 feet long and 48 broad, including walls 
5 feet in thickness. Ten pillars of an octagon form decorate the 
inside. The base of the north-west turret may still be seen. 


space between the two streams lay the six serpen- 
tine fish-ponds, called the " Crankles." Across the 
Lark and east of the cellarer's yard, the " Walnut- 
tree yard " was situated, and to its right the 
vineyard, 1 laid out in regular walks and parterres. 
Each was protected by its walls and the river Lark. 

Along the south side of the great abbey court, J^^jf 1 * 1 
from the guest-house to the " palace " and beyond, court- 
clustered a multitude of noble but irregular buildings, 
turreted, pinnacled and carved, and presenting all the 
appearance of a miniature medieval city. The "Mint," The "Mint." 
where the monks had the right of coining from the 
time of the Confessor, began this gorgeous line of 
buildings, and ran contiguous to the western wall 
at the right of the guest-house. 

The monastery, "the magnificent and peaceful The monastery, 
abode of religion," as Dr. Yates proclaims it, ex- 
tended eastward from the mint to the very banks 
of the river. First, the lesser monastery with its 
grassy enclosure 2 lay, like the mint, in the protecting 

1 Bought by the sacrist Robert de Gravel " ad solatium infirm- 
(.rum et amicorum," A.D. 1221. A wall 22 feet high, and a hill gently 
sloping to the height of 70 feet, sheltered it from the north, and 
houses from the east, while to the south-west it is open to the 
genial sun. In 1875 Mr. J. Darkin here grew to perfection in the 
open air several varieties of foreign grapes. 

2 Now known as the bowling green. As the "Lesser Monastery " 
stood on the site of the chamberer's office mentioned in the deed 
of grant to John Eyre, Esq., temp. Eliz. , and described by Jocelyn 
(Gage's edit., p. 70) as a large hall with dormitories on the upper 
storey, there can be no doubt about its position. The foundations 
shown in old maps of a spacious edifice behind the east wall and 
northern wall of the bowling green prove that a monastery existed 
there. The old monastery in which Bishop Ailwin placed the Bene- 
dictines was south-east of this, and removed by Abbot Baldwin to 
make room for the nave and facade of the abbey church. To replace 
the old monastery Baldwin built the " Lesser Monastery " in stone, 
and probably also first built the great refectory. Abbot Robert II. 
seems to have continued the refectory wing as a scriptorium and in- 



shade of St. James' church. The new or greater mon- 
astery came next in one long sweep which ran parallel 
to the nave of the great basilica. Its west wing con- 
tained the monk's " aula," or dining-hall, 171 feet in 
length and 40 feet in breadth, 1 surmounted by the dormi- 
tory or cells. The east wing contained the scriptorium, 
the infirmary and the infirmary chapel of St. Michael. 
Between the greater monastery and the basilica the 
kitchens and offices lay to the west, and to the east 
the quadrangle of monastic cloisters. - The chapter- 
house, 3 the vestry 4 and the north transept of the 

firmary. In process of time these two wings were rebuilt, probably by 
< Geoffrey the sacrist, temp. Henry 1. 3 and they were called the New or 
Greater Monastery. From Battely's mention of the New Monastery, 
p. 27, and of the Greater Monastery, p. 63, they were evidently 
one and the same. The great refectory adjoined the east end of the 
Lesser Monastery and not the west end of the palace. When it 
was burnt down by the great fire, Helyas the sacrist rebuilt it and 
the other parts which had been destroyed in 1155, on the same 
site. Many facts bear out this assignment of the refectory to 
the west and the infirmary to the east. In building the refectory, 
the kitchens which stood on part of the site of Ailwin's old monas- 
tery would be retained, there being no signs or record of any others. 
The position of the infirmary cloisters equally proves that the in- 
firmary was in the vicinity of the abbot's palace. 

1 In this great refectory the parliament of 1446 sat, whose object, 
it is said, was to compass the death of Humphrey Duke of Gloucester. 

- These cloisters were built by Prior John Gosford. 

3 The chapter-house was originally the work of Geoffrey the 
sacrist. After the great fire, Hugh the sacrist rebuilt it, A.D. 1155. 
In 1156 Abbot Anselm was buried in it. See Knight's "Old 
England " for an ideal view of it, vol. i. print 696. 

4 A writer in the "Tablet" of December 26, 1891, has tried to 
give a description of the vestry of this great abbey and of its presses 
and strong chests with then 1 treasures of vestments, jewels and 
objects of gold and silver. No inventory of them, however, exists, 
and only from fragmentary notices can they be conceived. Yet 
their value was so great that Walter of Diss, overwhelmed with 
the responsibility of their guardianship, four days after his appoint- 
ment to the office of sacrist, petitioned Abbot Samson to relieve him 
from it, since he had not closed his eyes, nor could he rest or sleep 


basilica adjoined the eastern cloister. The chapter- TIR ,-i,ai-ui 
house, which measured 100 feet in length and 40 in library, 
breadth, was surmounted by the library, which Hervey, 
the brother of Prior Talbot, enriched with valuable 

from anxiety. As the monks of St. Edmund carried out the 
ceremonial of the Church with extraordinary splendour, they 
required many " sets " of copes and other vestments. At times 
eighty of the monks wore copes. On certain feasts a crowd of 
priests and clerics joined the religious, and at the great offices, like 
mass and vespers, were all clad in sacred vestments. From fifty to 
a hundred masses were daily celebrated in the basilica, and for 
these, the vestry presses supplied all the necessary sets of vestments 
in every one of the church colours. To read of sets of ten, thirty, 
or sixty copes is not then extraordinary. " The fragmentary 
notices which remain," says the writer referred to, "afford at all 
events some idea of that of which all exact record is now lost. 
Here, for example, is the cope woven with gold, and the precious 
chasuble given by Abbot Samson ; here the chasuble adorned with 
gold and precious stones and a cope of the like set given to the 
house by Abbot Hugh II., afterwards bishop of Ely. Then in this 
press are kept the precious copes and silken hangings, and other 
most noble ornaments provided by Abbot Richard I. (A.D. 122!)- 
1234) ; and in this other the set of fifty copes and things belonging 
thereto like albs, apparels, hoods and morses, which Prior John 
Oosford had done so much to acquire. Then, to mention one or two 
more instances, there were the vestments obtained at the cost of 
200 by John Lavenham ; the vestment brorlen cum botterflies d<' 
natyn given by Dom Edmund Bokenham, chaplain to King Edward 
III. ; the embroidered cope of Prior William de Rokeland ; the 
precious cope bought for over t'40 (400 of our money) by Prior 
Edmund de Brundish ; the sumptuously embroidered cope given by 
Henry Lacy, Earl of Lincoln." 

The following is an example of the kind of plate the vestry kept : 
the great chalice of gold, weighing nearly fourteen marks, the gift of 
Eleanor, queen of Henry II. The convent had given it as a contri- 
bution towards the ransom of Richard I. The queen-mother, 
however, paid its value and restored it to the abbey on condition 
so the charter runs that never again should it be alienated, but 
kept as a perpetual memorial of her son ; a chalice of fine gold 
weighing five marks, procured by the sacrist Hugh ; the cross of 
gold given by Abbot Samson ; the third golden cross,, one of the 
presents of Henry Lacy, which sparkled with precious stones 
and contained a relic of the true cross ; a second cup of St. Edmund 


manuscripts and Master Hugh ornamented most 
gorgeously with his own hand. The cloisters led 
to the " Abbot's Palace," which an open ambula- 
tory also connected with the main building, so 
that easy access might be had to and from 
The mttnnary all parts of the monastery. The infirmary cloister, 


175 feet square, joined the north-eastern corner of 
the chapter-house, and contained the lavatory, l a 
splendid work of art, adorned with statuary and 
coloured windows. The infirmary northern cloister 
bounded the abbot's garden, while between its 
southern cloister and the basilica lay the brethren's 

house" 01 "" cemetery. 2 The " Prior's House " 3 and offices joined 
the infirmary cloisters and stood east of the great 

The Kith. church. Beyond, to the south-east, lay the bath, 4 

with a bowl of silver gilt and marvellous workmanship, which the 
same Henry Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, gave to the monks, asserting that 
it once belonged to the royal martyr ; a pastoral staff of Abbot 
Curteys, a work of art which did honour to John Horwell, gold- 
smith, of London, who made it in 1430 in time for the feast of All 
Saints. In the crook itself were two figured scenes, on one side the 
Assumption, and on the other the Annunciation ; below the spring- 
ing of the curve a richly ornamented niche enshrined the figure of 
.St. Edmund, whilst below this again and forming the summit of the 
staff, were twelve similar canopied niches, each containing a figure 
of one of the apostles. This precious pastoral staff weighed 121bs. 
94 oz., and the abbot paid 40 (400) for it. This mere glance at the 
vestry of a single monastery affords some idea of the devastation 
which took place a few years later. 

1 It was begun by Walter de Banham (Battely, p. 154), and 
finished by Prior John of Gosford. 

2 The monk's cemetery also extended to the south-eastern side of 
the basilica. Here skeletons buried without coffins have been 
frequently found, with small crosses of lead of divers form, most 
of them inscribed " Crux Xti pellit hostem" on one side, and, 
" Crux Xti triuphat," on the other. 

3 Part of the foundations of this house was laid open a few years 
since by the Suffolk Archaeological Society, and an accurate plan of 
them was taken by Mr. John Darkin. 

4 Excavated by Helyas the sacrist, about 1150, and filled up by 
reformers about 150 years ago. 


20 yards square, divided into apartments and fed 
by the river Linnet. The strong wall, now in ruins, 
with its buttresses diversely shaped to resist and 
break the flow of water, here flanked the river for 
some distance and thus protected the eastern build- 
ings from the floods. The whole length of this 
stately pile of monastic buildings, was overshadowed by 
the massive towers, the spires and stretch of roof of 
the abbey church. This church which stood guardian 
over St. Edmund's shrine, was a vast Norman basilica Jhurcii'" T 
dedicated to Christ, St. Mary and St. Edmund, came 
next in capacity to Cologne cathedral, and ranked with 
Amiens and York among the greater churches of Europe. 
It was entered from the abbey by the east and west 
cloisters which reposed under its shade. l The townsmen 
and pilgrims approached by the Norman tower or " great The great ga 

of St. Kdmun 

gate of the church-yard/' 2 which immediately fronted church, 
the western doors of the basilica and rose in three 
storeys to the height of 90 feet over the wide and 
lofty archway. In stately grandeur, in refinement 
of decoration and proportion of parts, no Romanesque 
work in England surpasses this Norman gateway. 
On its western side, and projecting five feet from 
the face of the tower, a porch of unique Norman 
work rises to the height of 30 feet, and consists of a 
decorated pediment covering an arch which springs 
from three pillars. Two square and storeyed turrets 

1 For ground plan and dimensions of the abbey church, see 
Battely and Yates. 

2 Abbot Baldwin erected this tower, which was the one that the 
boy Samson saw in his dream. It still remains, and is 86 feet 
high and 36 feet square, the walls being six feet in thickness, built 
of rubble and faced with hewn Barnack stone. As usual with highly 
finished Norman buildings, the stones are of a size which a labourer 
could easily carry on his back to the top. The storeys are marked by 
three string courses and arcades of arches, each line of arcading vary- 
ing with each storey. It is now the bell-tower of St. James' church. 


flank the porch on each side. A sculpture repre- 
senting our Saviour in an elliptic aureole filled the 
great arch. 1 In the archway a square-headed door- 
way in the south wall marks the postern or porter's 
gate. Here again gates of bronze and iron, opening 
outwards, guarded the entrance. A newel stone 
staircase in the north-west turret ascended to a 
gallery above, which connected the small doors on 
the north and south sides, and enabled the warders 
to enter on the embattled walls which surrounded 
the whole abbey and its grounds. 
st. KJmun-vs Passing through this majestic entrance, the pilgrim 

cemetery or 

.-.hnrch-yani saw before and around him the great cemetery or 
church-yard of St. Edmund, acres in extent, reaching 
from his feet to the gardens and orchards which lay 
at the far east on the banks of the river Linnet, 
surrounded and dotted over with countless edifices, 
churches, chapels, schools and residences for priests, 
chaplains and abbey officials the great cross of the 
cemetery rising in the midst of all. Chapels dedicated 
to St. Edmund, St. Andrew, St. John ad Montem, 
and one called the Chapel of the Charnel, as well as 
three churches, besides the vast abbey church, and 
the houses and gardens attached to each chapel, 
found abundant room within this extensive enclosure. 2 

with its dmrch The eye, wandering to the right, passed the line of 

<>f St. Mary. 

buildings adjacent to the western wall, to light on 
the church of St. Mary, standing at the south corner, 
in all its perfection and freshness ; for it was only 
built at the commencement of the fifteenth century 

1 It was removed in 1789 to pro vide freer access for " loads of hay 
and straw" fit simile of the destruction of the old religion. 

- Up to the time of Abbot Samson the mystery plays, which 
were the delight of the common people, and shows, wrestling and 
other sports took place in the church-yard. In 1197 the famous 
abbot stopped them, because of the broils and bickerings between 
the townspeople and the abbey servants. 


in its present perfect perpendicular style, vast pro- 
portions and beautiful delicate minuteness of parts. 
On its north-west rose the tower. Inside the church a 
long vista of slender columns, lofty, storeyed and 
coloured windows, far-stretching aisles and nave, distant 
chapels, and open timber roof elaborately carved and 
gilded, would have met the gaze as it wandered 
from St. Peter's aisle on the north to St. Mary's on 
the south, and up the nave for 200 feet and more to 
the Jesus aisle or chancel at the east, the great 
west window all the while shedding its mellowed 
light over the whole scene. 1 

At the east of St. Mary's church the buildings Kt Mal , r . u . t . t s 
and residences of the clergy, who served it, clustered ^4.' e 
and extended to the south gate, called St. Margaret's, 2 
beyond which stood St. Margaret's church, 3 the largest st . Margaret's 
of the churches, and described by Leland as of c 
curious workmanship and remarkable for large and 
beautiful traceried windows. 

At the east of St. Margaret's church stood Abbot Alibot Salllsl>II - 


1 Tymns' " Handbook of Bury-St. -Edmund's" gives a full descrip- 
tion of this grand church. It still remains, though robbed of brasses 
and tombs and much else that made it magnificent. It is altogether 
213J feet in length, 68 feet in breadth and 60 feet in height. Its 
roof is perfect, and probably the finest specimen in the world of 
an open timber roof. Its west window is said to be the largest in 
any parochial church in England and measures 3oJ feet high and 
18J broad, clear dimensions. It would take the curious visitor 
many days to inspect Jankyn Smith's chantry of St. John the 
Baptist (A.i). 1480), his friend John Baret's Lady chapel, John 
of Nottingham's porch (A.D. 1437), the countless helves, cornices, 
corbels, bosses, spandrels, which are carved with the emblems of 
the passion, legends and arms of St. Edmund and of the saints, 
and the shields and mottoes of all England's highest nobility. 

2 Removed in 1760. 

3 St. Margaret's was not a parish church, and hence is sometimes 
called a chapel. It existed in Leland's time, but no trace on record 
survives to back up the traditions concerning it. It was built by 
Abbot Anselni. 


Samson's schools, 1 built in the early English style 
with a Norman arched gateway, ornamented on each 
side with niches with chevron moulding. The school 
bordered on the abbey gardens. 

The chapei of Of the chapels within the area of the cemetery, 
that of the " Charnel " with " the pardoned grave " by 
its side 2 held the most conspicuous place. Abbot John 
of North wold founded it 3 in 1301, the year of his 
own death. The charter of foundation recites that, 
" lately passing over the cemetery allotted for the 
burial of the common people," the abbot had observed, 
" not without sorrow of heart and pressure of vehement 
grief," how very many of the graves had been violated 
by the multiplied burials of bodies, and the bones of the 
buried " indecently cast forth and left." He there- 
fore directed this chapel to be built, " paved with stone 
competently, that the exposed bones may be laid in 
the cavity beneath reverently and decently." And 
he decrees " that the place shall happily be rendered 
most famous by the perpetual celebration of the 
masses of two chaplains," 4 one of whom was to 

1 In a deed of 1579 described as " the late gramer schole hall, 
nowe the shire-house." 

- In this part of the cemetery seem to have been laid those who 
had received the plenary indulgence at the hour of death, or, as 
non-Catholics writers put it, who had purchased remission of 
purgatorial punishments. It seems to have been similar to the 
"Pardon churchyard" on the north side of the charnel of old St. 
Paul's cathedral in London. 

3 The chapel was rated 6 for first fruits temp. Henry VIII. 
It was a "common ale-house " in 1637, and complained of as being 
also a " common nuisance." It was afterwards a blacksmith's shop. 
Last it was designed for a family mausoleum by Mr. Alderman 
Spink, who put up iron palisades round its ivy-covered walls and 
planted the enclosure with shrubs. The entrance to the crypt was 
discovered in 1844. The stairs had disappeared, but the floor was 
found paved with Barnack stone and covered to a depth of two feet 
with bones. 

These two chaplains were endowed "with the whole profit of 


carry the pastoral staff before the lord abbot on 
public occasions and in processions. 1 Prior William 
of Rokelond provided a third chaplain 2 to say mass 
in the venerable Chapel of the Charnel. 

The spectator still standing within the great gate 
of the cemetery, having made a survey of the southern 
precincts, now turns to the left to view St. James' st. Jam 
church, which stretches from the great gate 193 feet 
eastwards. Most exquisite tracery and delicate sculp- 
ture ornamented the windows and walls of this 
beautiful edifice. Altars to St. Anne, St. John, St. 
Lawrence, St. Mary, St. Michael, St. Peter, St. Stephen 
and St. Thomas a Becket stood in all their rich carving 
under its open cinque-foiled and decorated timber- 
roof. 3 At the west of its south aisle, called St. 
Mary's, was situated the popular altar and chapel 
of the Holy Name of Jesus, and in the south porch our 
Lady's chapel with its doors of brass. Statues and 
pictures adorned the walls, like that of St. John the 
Evangelist in the chancel, and of St. James and the 
Virgin Mother and the picture of the " Salutation " in 
the north aisle, where the guilds of St. Botulph and of 

the ministry or office of the clerk serving with us of our pastoral 
staff, which is called the Staphacres," i.e., the crop of an acre of 
corn in various manors around the town ; and the number of 
chaplains were to be increased as the amount of alms and legacies of 
the faithful would admit. They were only removable " for incurable 
infirmity or evident honest cause," and then to be maintained in the 
hospital of St. Saviour, unless " overspread with such a contagious 
disease, that among other men he or they cannot decently keep 
company, and then in the hospital of St. Peter or St. Nicholas. " 

1 The charters appointing the principal chaplain or ciistos, ' ' to 
the free chapel called Le Charnell," provided that " he or his 
honest deputy should carry before the lord abbot his pastoral staff, 
on the usual occasions and according to ancient custom." 

3 A house in Bernewell Street, now College Street, was assigne 
to the three chaplains for residence. 

- The roof was extremely similar to that of Burwell, Cambs. 


Jesus held their meetings, under the bright and 
coloured light of the saints of the old and new 
testament, who looked down from the storied windows- 
St. James' church l with its many chapels and 
altars stood in the shadow of the west front of 
the abbey church, which rose straight in front 
of the great gate, and surpassed in glory and magnifi- 
cence all that existed in the other churches. 

" For if the servants we so much commend, 
What was the mistress whom they did attend ! " 

The lofty roof, massive towers and tapering pinnacles 
of this " Great Church " rose high above all other 
buildings and formed a conspicuous landmark to all 
the country round, being the very centre of the far- 
spreading lands and houses. All other churches, 
chapels, and chantries, cloisters, halls and gates per- 
force paid it lowly homage. Its west front, 250 
feet wide, with three lofty arched portals and two 
lower ones, rivalled that of Peterborough. A high 
us western and massive bell-tower, supported by two lateral 


towers, as in present Ely cathedral, stood majestically 
in the centre of the facade, and western transepts, 
also imitated at Ely, flanked by low octagonal 
towers 30 feet wide inside, completed the broad and 
imposing frontage. At the end of the nave-roof 
its cusuin a lfty chancel tower and two lower towers rose to the 
sky, massive and solid, from which the transepts 
to the north and south, and the apse to the east 
branched out, completing with the nave the church's 
cruciform shape. From contemplating the exterior, 
the pilgrim passed under one of the sublimely 

1 The church of St. James still stands, and in one of its aisle 
windows some of the old glass, containing figures of David, Abia 
and other scripture kings, may be seen. 


arched and pointed l doorways through the skilfully T1 >e interior, 
chiselled gates of beaten bronze within the basilica 
itself. The long western transepts lay on his right 
and left, the two apsidal chapels of St. Catherine and 
St. Faith being at their eastern corners. Before him 
the dim and columned nave, the largest of any church 
north of the Alps except old St. Paul's, stretched in 
an unbroken length of 500 feet. 2 A scene of unexam- 
pled beauty and solemness broke upon the vision. 
Between the twelve bays formed by the huge Norman 
columns, in transept and apse glimmered the lights 
at altars and in chapels too numerous to name, for The numerous 
eighty priests of the abbey, as well as those who came 
in pilgrimage, required altars on which each might 
daily offer the great Christian Sacrifice. The painted 
vaulting that of the choir by " Dom John Wodecroft, 
the king's painter," 3 and that of the nave, to match, 
by the sacrist John Lavenham 4 relieved the massive 
Norman architecture, while the clerestory and aisle 
windows and the distant windows of choir and apse, 
filled with painted glass, the gifts of kings and nobles, 
brought the court and glory as it were of heaven into the 

1 They were originally three great Norman archways, but 
seem to have been changed for pointed ones before the 14th 

2 See letter of E. B. Denison, Esq., in the "Times," Sept. 1, 
1871. Its length was 505 feet, the nave was 33 feet broad, the 
upper transepts 246 J feet from north to south. It thus surpassed any 
other church or cathedral at the time of its erection. The follow- 
ing are the lengths of some of its rivals, after additions had been 
made to them : Durham, 414 feet ; Winchester, 545 ; Canterbury, 
514 ; Salisbury, 474 ; Westminster, 489 ; York and Lincoln, 498 ; 
Ely, 517 ; St. Alban's, 600. Norwich cathedral, including the Lady 
chapel at the east end, could have been placed within St. Edmund's 
church with many feet to spare all round it. 

3 A.D. 1279-1301, in the days of Abbot John I. de Northwold. 

4 A.D. 1370. John Lavenham spent 50,000 of our money in 
beautifying the church. 

A A 


scene. Six clusters of pillars, l springing from the tiled 
pavement, soaring aloft, upheld the chancel lantern 
tower, which cast down rays of light upon the high 

The high altar, altar with its silver base and porphyry table, 
presented by Pope Alexander III. to Abbot Baldwin. 
The altar screen with side doors leading beyond, and 
all adorned with paintings by Prior Edmund Brandish, 

The choir and surrounded the altar. The choir and presbytery 
extended behind the altar, and was so magnificent, 
so glorious, so gorgeously rich even in Herman's 
time, that he compared it to Solomon's temple and 
testified that many pronounced it the most costly 
temple to God they had seen. The oak carved stalls 
of the monks extended from pillar to pillar, and in 
their midst, in the centre of the apse, 2 stood the price- 

Tiie martyr's less shrine of the martyr on its gothic stonework base, 
glittering with gold and gems and lighted tapers, and 
surmounted by a coloured and pictured baldachin. 
On the east, at the head of the saint, two small 
columns supported a smaller shrine containing the 
relics of Abbot Leofstan and others, whilst at the feet 
of the saint were the shrine of Abbot Baldwin and 
the altar of the Holy Cross. " Oh, how worthy was 
this spot, in which so great a witness of Christ reposed, 
apparently asleep ! " 3 An opening at the most eastern 

The east end. ?r J 

point of the choir brought the pilgrim face to face 
with the three apsidal chapels of the east end. 
The centre one was the chapel of the relics ; the other 
two had been built in honour of St. Thomas and to 

1 Abbot Baldwin originally intended the two easternmost piers 
to support that side of the central tower, but Abbot Robert, his 
successor, deciding to lengthen the choir one bay, left the intended 
tower piers standing, and built four others towards the west. 

2 It was placed there by Abbot Baldwin in 1095, and never after- 
wards removed, except to a new stone base in 1198. 

3 St. Abbo. 


receive the shrines of St. Firminus and St. Botulph, 
which once stood attendant on St. Edmund's shrine. 
The stranger, passing by many a sculptured chapel, 
screened chantry and recumbent tomb of holy and 
illustrious dead, 1 next visits the transepts, 246 The eastern 
feet from north to south, and crossing the nave under 
the chancel tower. A single row of columns on the 
east side of each formed aisles, and divided the 
main part from the side-chapels. Apsidal chapels 
projected eastwards at the extreme corners, and the 
" pity rood " or " ruby rood," a copy of the " Santo 
Volto" which Abbot Leofstan brought from Lucca, 
adorned that near the south door. The Lady 
chapel, 80 feet long and 42 broad, adjoined the 
north transept, and ran eastwards parallel to the choir 
aisle, while the chapel of St. Andrew corresponded 
with it in the south transept. By a side-door 
in the north transept the visitor entered the east 
cloister of the monastery, and thence descended to 
the crypt St. Mary in cryptis, which extended The C1 . yrt 
under that eastern limb of the church which was 
occupied by the shrine of St. Edmund and its mag- 
nificent surroundings. The crypt was a veritable 
underground church, 100 feet long and 80 broad, 
its vaulted roof being supported by 24 polished 
marble pillars. 2 In its centre welled up a fountain 
of crystal water. 3 Three apsidal chapels 4 corresponded 

1 The bare enumeration, says Tymms, of the royal and noble 
persons who found their last resting-place within these walls would 
occupy many pages. He then proceeds to give a few names of 
earls, dukes and princes buried there, ending with Mary Tudor, 
sister of Henry VIII. and queen of Louis XII. of France. 

- Probably Purbeck marble. 

3 There seems to have been a baptismal font connected with this 
spring. The font with its lofty canopy is now in Worlingworth 

4 The foundations of these chapels were laid open in 1849, during 


with those in the church above, the centre one 
being dedicated to St. Mary, that to the south 
to the Holy Cross and that to the north to St. Saba. 
Chapels to St. Anne, St. Botulph, Abbot of Bamsey, 
and St. Lawrence also adorned the undercrofts. The 
pilgrim ascends once more to the abbey cloister, 
having finished his tour of what an ancient writer 
describes as " the magnificent pile of many kings, built 
of hewn stone by masterly hands of many ages, and 
elevated with lofty columns ornamented with marble ; 
shewing in the texture of its vaulted roof, under the 
mortal image, the countenance of heaven. Why 
should I recount the walls terminated with battle- 
ments ? Why should I extol the towers with folding 
doors, and in their turn the many interior buildings, 
rearing with united roofs their pinnacles to the 
clouds ? You might call it a beautiful city within 
a small space." l 

st. Edmund's Around this majestic pile, St. Edmund's town 
clustered. In the course of ages many circumstances 
had contributed to the growth of the borough. What 
were plough-lands, for instance, in Edward the 
Confessor's reign, were covered with houses under the 
Norman rule, when the building of the great church 
drew craftsmen and masons to the place and mingled 
them with the plough-men and reapers of the abbey 
domains. Serfs, traders, Jews and fugitives from justice, 
or their lord, sought protection in rough times under 
the strong hand of St. Edmund, 2 and having found it, 
settled down under the convent rule, so that long 

some excavations undertaken by the Suffolk Archaeological Institute. 
The northern one had some fragments of encaustic tile pavement 
and the lateral supports of a stone altar. The sedilia for the 
officiating priests were still observable. 

1 Quoted by Yates, p. 1 76. 

2 Green's " Short History of the English People," edit. 1877, p. 90. 


before the fifteenth century the space within the 
walls was filled with the houses of the burgesses. 
And judging from the size and number of the parish 
churches and the pious bequests made to them, and 
from the reception accorded to kings and high func- 
tionaries, the population was not only large but well-to- 
do. At every step wealthy homes, hospitals, halls, 
convents and schools met the wayfarer. A wall guarded 
by five gates surrounded the town. At each gate a 
canopied niche enclosed a statue of our Lady, before 
which lamp or candle constantly burnt. Near each 
gate a hospice or religious house, for the entertainment 
of pilgrims, had also been established, and a chapel 
or oratory to the tutelar angel or saint of the 

Over the town, and within the four crosses which The abbot's 

power over it. 

marked its boundaries, the abbot held supreme juris- 
diction. All civil and criminal causes came to his 
court. He had his own prison, and, saving the rights 
and privileges which the citizens had won or bought 
from the monks, and which were embodied in their 
charters, his power was absoluta His spiritual 
jurisdiction within the crosses which stood a mile His spiritual 
in each direction from the martyr's tomb, was that 
of an abbas nullius, or one subject to no bishop save 
the bishop of Rome. l Only a legate a latcrc, or the 
visitor appointed by the English-Benedictine general 
chapter, could officially inspect the monastery and 
its dependencies. 2 Like a bishop, the abbot of St. 
Edmund's could wear the tunic and dalmatic and 
bestow the solemn blessing with mitre on head and 

1 Even an abba* nulliits not having episcopal consecration was 
obliged to call in a bishop for ordinations and other strictly 
episcopal functions. 

2 Hence the abbot of Hulme, deputed by the general chapter 
held at Northampton, visited the abbey in 1441. (Yates, p. 114.) 


crozier in hand. He appointed the parochial clergy 
in his jurisdiction, and monks, priests and chaplains 
owed obedience to him according to their order. One 
restriction, however, was placed upon the abbot. 
He had no power to tax the borough without the 
will of the convent, for it belonged to St. Edmund 
and his altar, and all the profits from it pertained to 
the convent ; unless they voluntarily granted them to 
the abbot, to the burgesses or to the king. Accordingly, 
the horn called the mote horn and the keys of the 
town were every year on St. Michael's day delivered 
to the sacrist in the chapter-house by the town 
bailiffs ; the sacrist delivered them to the prior, who 
in the same way, through the sacrist, returned them 
to the town authorities. This observance took place 
annually, in order to assert the right of the convent 
over the town, so that, during the vacancy of the 
abbacy, the king should not take it into his own 
hands with the abbot's temporalities. 

The abbatiai No limit, however, restricted the abbot's temporal 
rule outside the limits of the town. Like St. Cuthbert 

in the north, St. Edmund held an extensive franchise 
in the east. His possessions embraced a third of 
Suffolk, besides manors and farms in a dozen other 
counties, and over these the abbot had quasi-regal 
rights. The consequent wealth and influence made 
him a baron of the realm, with the privilege of sitting 
in parliament with other spiritual peers. 

The wealth of The wealth and possessions of St. Edmund were 
the accumulated growth of centuries. The same 
principle which induces men now-a-days to erect 
memorials to Prince Albert, or General Gordon, 
animated St. Edmund's clients to bring their gifts 
of gold and land to the monks, the guardians of 
their hero's tomb. In the course of ages these sub- 
stantial expressions of devotion or gratitude to St. 


Edmund brought in a yearly revenue of 200,000 Its annual 


of our money. Yates, who wrote in 1804, ventures 
the statement that the possessions of the monastery 
produced an annual income of 500,000. Weever 1 
places St. Edmund's Bury as second only to Glaston- 
bury in wealth, privileges and power. He says: "If 
you demand how great the wealth of this abbey was, 
a man could hardly tell, and namely how many gifts 
and oblations were hung upon the tomb alone of 
St. Edmund; and besides there came in out of lands 
and revenues a thousand, five hundred and three 
score pounds (1,560) of old rent every year." The 
commissioners of Henry VIII., however, put its 
annual value at 2,336, or below that of St. Alban's 
and Canterbury, implying that at the height of its 
prosperity its ample endowments held only the fourth 
rank among those of the ecclesiastical and monastic 
establishments of England. It is well known, how- 
ever, that Henry's agents were not too scrupulous in 
their reports, nor too accurate when the figures 
would tend to their own interests, and hence little 
reliance can be placed on their statements. In 1278 
the monastery, in paying subsidies to the king, 
admitted a yearly income of 10,000, which, put into 
modern money, more closely approaches the estimate 
arrived at by Yates and others. 

Such then was St. Edmund's patrimony 700 years A summary, 
after its beginning, 500 years after the introduction 
of the Benedictines and just before its final ruin. 
Thirty-three abbots had held its pastoral staff, many 
of them illustrious for holiness and learning ; monks 
famous for scholarship and skill in the fine arts had 
found refuge in its abbey ; 2 and great men of the 

1 " Funeral Monuments," pp. 463-4. 

2 Some of its most celebrated men were : Abbot Baldwin 
(1097) ; Abbot Samson (1211) ; Abbot John of Northwold, annalist 




of the place 

st. sigebei-t's 

realm, kings, noblemen, merchants and honest towns- 
men, considered it a mark of distinction and honour, 
to be enrolled in the fraternity of the guardians of 
St. Edmund, or to have allotted to them a grave near 
his shrine. 

The magnificence of its buildings, the extent of 
^ s possessions, the sacredness of its precincts hallowed 
by the continuous chant of the choir, the solemn 
round of holy services, the daily masses and pro- 
cessions, and the ceaseless stream of pilgrims during 
its long tenure of prosperity, all owed their origin and 
strength 'to the name arid power of St. Edmund. 
Some have, indeed, imagined that the spot had first 
been consecrated to druidical worship from the tradi- 
tion of the procession of the white bull, l and from the 
Saxon name Beoderics-gueorth, meaning a chief spot for 
worship.* Others have fixed upon it as the Villa 
Faustina, the prosperous toivn, or the Villa Faustini, 
the seat of Faustinus, of the Iter of Antonine, but 
accurate measurements do not bear out their theory. 
Others again connect it with the Roman Bericus, 
whom Suetonius mentions in his account of the 
emperor Claudius, the first real conqueror of Britain. 
We reach firm ground, however, in the reign of St. 
Sigebert, who founded a monastery and church on 
the spot in honour of St. Mary ; in that monastery 

and voluminous writer (1301); Abbot Hugh of Northwold, after- 
wards bishop of Ely ; Prior Roger, the computist (1360) ; Jocelinof 
Brakelond, chronicler (1214) ; John Eversden, poet, orator, historian 
(1336); Edmund Bromfield, bishop of Llandaff (1389); Boston de 
Bury, author and bibliographer (1410) ; John Lydgate, rhetorician, 
mathematician and poet (1446). Abbot John Melford or Reeve, 
who survived the destruction of the monastery only a few months. 

J An old custom of the townspeople. 

2 Sir Henry Ellis derives this meaning from the Saxon bede, 
"prayer," rice, "power," or "authority," as in "bishopric," and 
ivorth, a " town." 


he laid aside his crown and devoted himself 
to a religious life. Afterwards, about the time of 
St. Edmund so the old charters and registers have 
it, being a royal town, it descended to one of 
royal blood named Beodricus. Beodricius, or Beodric, 


who gave it to King Edmund. Whether Beodric 
bequeathed it to the saint before or after the martyr- 
dom is uncertain. More probably he offered it to 
Bishop Wilred, when that prelate was seeking some 
secure and permanent resting-place for the holy king's 
remains. No spot was more suitable for church, 
tomb and monastery, than King Sigebert's royal 
town, then known as Beodrics worth, or Bcodric's 
estate. So Etheiing Beodric surrendered it, and Ed- 
mund took possession of the fief, over which he 
exercised undisputed suzerainty for six hundred years. 
For centuries it retained its name of Beodrics worth. 
In course of time, however, the people called it 
Kingston and Edmundston, St. Edmund's burg, borough, 
or town, and lastly St. Edmund's Bury ; not because 
St. Edmund was buried there, but by reason of the 
splendour of the place, the word bury in Anglo- 
Saxon signifying "court" or "palace." Carlyle ex- Car]y]e on the 

i , i c J/L. i ii growth of St. 

plains the growing importance of the place in the Edmund's 
following words : " Edmund was seen and felt by 
all men to have done verily a man's part in this 
life-pilgrimage of his ; and benedictions, and out- 
flowing love and admiration from the universal heart, 
were his meed. Well-done ! Well-done ! cried the 
hearts of all men. They raised his slain and martyred 
body; washed its wounds with fast-flowing uni- 
versal tears ; tears of endless pity, and yet of sacred 
joy and triumph Oh ! if all Yankee- 
land follow a small good ' Sclmiispel the distinguished 
novelist' with blazing torches, dinner-invitations, 
universal hep-hep-hurrah, feeling that he, though small, 


is something ; how might all Angle-land once follow 
a hero-martyr and great true son of heaven ! " It 
is natural to man to worship, but it is a humiliat- 
ing fact that he oftentimes worships mere empty 
nothings " Kings' progresses, Lord Mayors' shows and 
other gilt-gingerbread phenomena of the worshipful 
sort," with other heroes of doubtful character " these 
be thy gods, Israel!" Is not Edmund better and 
nobler than these ? The modern world enshrines 
its heroes under the dome of St. Paul's, in the aisles 
of Westminster abbey, or beneath the monument and 
flowers of the suburban cemetery, and even bequeaths 
legacies that posterity may keep up the worship. 
In similar manner but more reasonably "did the 
men of the eastern counties take up the body of 
their Edmund, where it lay cast forth in the village 
of Hoxne ; seek out the severed head, and reverently 
reunite the same. They embalmed him. . . . with 
love, pity, and all high and awful thoughts : con- 
secrating him with a very storm of melodious adoring 
admiration and sun-dyed showers of tears ; joyfully 
yet with awe (as all deep joy has something of the 
awful in it) commemorating his noble deeds, and 
God-like walk and conversation while on earth ; " 
till at length all good men, bishops, priests and 
people, the Pope of Home approving, pronounced 
that he had in fact led a hero's life in this world, 
" and being now gone, was gone to God above and 
reaping his reward there." 

" The rest of St. Edmund's history, for the reader 
sees he has become a saint, is easily conceivable. 
Pious munificence provided him a loculus, a feretrum 
or shrine ; built for him a wooden chapel, a stone temple 
ever widening and growing by new pious gifts ; 
such the overflowing heart feels it a blessedness to 
solace itself by giving. St. Edmund's shrine glitters 


now with diamond flowerages, with a plating of 
wrought gold. The wooden chapel, as we say, has 
become a stone temple. Stately masonries, long- 
drawn arches, cloisters, sounding aisles buttress 
it, begirdle it far and wide. Regimented companies 
of men. . . . devote themselves in every gene- 
ration to meditate here on man's Nobleness and 
Awful ness, and celebrate and show forth the same, 
as they best can ; thinking they will do it better 
here, in the presence of God the Maker, and of the 
so Awful and so Noble made by Him. In one word, 
St. Edmund's body has raised a monastery round it ... 

" New gifts, houses, farms, katalla ] come ever 
in. King Knut. . . . with his crown and gifts, . . . 
many others, kings, queens, wise men and noble 
loyal women, let Dryasdust and divine silence be 
the record ! " 2 The devotion of ages has found ex- 
pression, has become visible arid lasting in this pile 
of buildings, in this monastery and its monks, in 
this town and its burghers, in these vast possessions, 
lands and manors which form "the Funeral Monu- 
ment " of the saint, Edmund. 

The first custodians of the shrine were some clerics, History of st. 
priests and deacons, who, out of devotion consecrated before the 

< coming in of the 

their lives to the service of God and St. Edmund. 3 Benedictines. 
About the year 925, Athelstan constituted them a 
collegium. They then consisted of the four priests The canons of 
Leofric, Alfric, Bomfield and Edmund, and of the two 
deacons Leofric and Kenelm. Within a few years 
they increased to fourteen priests and five deacons. 

1 " Goods, properties ; what we call chattels, and still more 
singularly cattle, says my erudite friend." 

2 Carlyle's " Past and Present," edit. 1843, p. 47 et seq. 

1 They began to live in community about A.D. 925, if not before. 
From 903 to 925, they probably served the church, though Oswene 
seems to have looked after the shrine. 


These keepers of the shrine had care of the property 
and relics ; they preserved the " Acts " of the saint's 
life and martyrdom, and registered the miracles. 
Countless benefactors gave donations to them and 
to the saint's burial-place, which they guarded. 
Among others Earl Alfgar and his daughter, the 
father and sister of the unfortunate youth Leofstan, 
sin'ine ions ma de large bequests of land. The very Danes ex- 
piated past crimes by offerings to the tomb, and the 
English upheld law and religion, at least in theory, by 
making Edmund's patrimony grand and over-awing. 
The long list of English kings who, by their gifts 
and charters, laid the foundation and built up 
the stately memorial to their fellow-sovereign, 
King Athei- begins with Atlielstan the Conqueror. He offered 


upon the altar, among his other gifts, a most precious 
copy of the gospels. His brother and successor King 

King Edmund's. Edmund in 945 confirmed by charter to the " family " 
of St. Edmund the possession of Beodricsworth, and 
granted for the first time the temporal jurisdiction 
over the district within the four crosses. He more- 
over endowed his patron and namesake with the 
permanent revenue of the manor of Fornham Parva. 

Kdwy's. Even the dissolute Edwy respected St. Edmund and 

gave him the manors of Beccles and Elmswell, and 

Kdjiar's. King Edgar and his chancellor Thurketul confirmed 

all former gifts and added other lands. The relic 
of the true cross which lay upon the sleeping martyr's 
breast for a hundred years, was among the valuable 
legacies of this period. But the Bishops Theodred L, 


Theodred i.'s, Theodred II. and Adulph made the richest offerings 

Tlieodred II. 's, 

and Adniph's. a (- flns time in the form of extensive and valuable 
estates. Theodred's will is still extant and bequeaths 
to St. Edmund the three manors of Harrings Heath, 

1 King Edmund's charter vises the words " familia monasterii." 


Ickworth and Whepstead, to which Bishop Adulph 
added nine others. 

The secular canons in course of time proved T1 'e decay or 

discipline amon 

unworthy of the guardianship of the shrine which ^^ ntar 
had been entrusted to them. They spent upon 
themselves the offerings made to the Church and 
to St. Edmund, and neglected the tomb which 
they had engaged to attend. The fervour and 
enthusiasm of the first founders had evaporated 
in less than a century, and their successors disedified 
the pilgrims by their careless lives and their re- 
sistance to Bishop St. Algar's right to control their 
administration or to exact any contributions from 
them for the general needs of the Church. This rough 
spirit was in a great measure due to the unsettled 
state of the country, but Bishop Algar could not 
altogether excuse the neglect of the tomb. While 
leaving the canons, therefore, in possession of the 
monastery and church, he entrusted the round chapel 
and the shrine within it to the monk Ailwin. 

With Ailwin the patrimony of St. Edmund enters The appoint- 

, . . , ment of the 

upon a new history. Devout clients gained more monk Aiiwin. 
singular favours at the shrine, and in consequence 
donations and thank-offerings increased. The journey 
of the sacred body to London, and its return after 
three years, spread the fame of St. Edmund far and 
wide. An unwonted enthusiasm was created in his 
favour ; and gifts flowed in without stint. For in- 
stance, the Dane, out of himself with gratitude for 
his restoration to sight, threw his bracelets and neck- 
lace upon the coffin ; the Lord of Stapleford, cured 
of a lingering sickness, gave his own manor as a 
thank-offering ; and on Ailwin's re-entry into Beodrics- 
worth with the sacred remains, the people loaded 
him with joyful offerings. 

Next the " carucagium " ranks as the great tribute 


The of the East Anglians to St. Edmund, whom they 

"carucaginm." . 

always considered as their proper and only sovereign. 
It was granted in thanksgiving for the deliverance 
from King Sweyn. On hearing of the death of King 
Sweyn by the hand of St. Edmund, " the people lept 
for joy," says the Eegister of Abbot Curteys, and, 
" wishing to make a grateful return to St. Edmund, 
they determined to bestow on the saint fourpence 
annually forever for every carucate of land in the 
whole diocese ; which gift on that account is called 
carucagium." This tax was paid to the saint's church 
until the next century, when Herbert of Losinga, 
bishop of Norwich, borrowed it, or, according to some, 
had it made over to him by the monks, for the 
building of his cathedral. 

King Canute's King Canute's munificence was another consequence 
of Sweyn's death. Sweyn had exacted tribute of 
the royal martyr's freemen, although every king 
and conqueror since Guthrun had held them exempt. 
He had even threatened to burn the saint's town and 
sanctuary, and if he refrained, it was from no feeling 
of reverence, but because a sudden and extraordinary 
death prevented him. Canute, unwilling to be a 
party in his father's crimes or his countryman's 
irreligion, at once made reparation to St. Edmund 
on his accession to the throne. " To expiate his 
father's crimes," runs the old tradition, " being oft 
affrighted with the vision " of the royal martyr's 
"seeming ghost," he confirmed the charter granted 
by Edmund I., "allowing the saint to enjoy the profit 
arising from the town," giving in addition the "sea- 
fish which should annually accrue to him in right 
of toll." 

Tiie induction of To Canute and Ail win we owe the establishment 

tlie Benedictines. , . ... , _ _ - 

of the Benedictines as guardians of St. Edmunds 
shrine. In the third year of Canute's reign the 


"monachus et auriga Sti Edmundi," Ail win, who for 
thirty years had been the saint's faithful servant, 
was consecrated bishop of Elmham. This necessitated 
the entrusting of the custody of the shrine to other 
hands. The new bishop, convinced that the secular 
canons, whom Bishop Algar had deprived of the office 
of custodians, were unfitted to resume it, contemplated 
their removal altogether, and the introduction into 
their place of some of his Benedictine brethren of 
the monastery of Hulme. Finding Elsinus, l the abbot 
of that monastery, favourable to his design, he sought 
and obtained the support of King Canute. The 
twelve ecclesiastics who formed the college of canons ~ 
were provided with suitable maintenance and removed. 
In their place Ailwin inducted half of the commu- 
nity of Hulme. Count Turchil, before whom Ailwin 
had fled to London, but who now presided over East 
Anglia, favoured the entrance of the monks "into 
that basilica, day and night to serve God, blessed 
Mary and the body of the holy martyr." Uvius, uviu.s, 
prior of Hulme, a humble, gentle and benign man, 
was blessed as first abbot by the bishop of London 
The rest of the community comprised Leofstan, the 
abbot's brother, Edward, Leosden the deacon, Alfric, T j, e m- 
Bond, Edric, Assiwold, Leofstan, the second of that 
name, Sparhavoc, and the boys Oswald and Ordric. 
With a generosity, worthy of imitation in these days, 
the new community received half the books, furniture, 
vestments and other goods of the mother-house. 

1 Also written Elfinus. 

2 The ' 'Registrum Sacristse," as well as other registers of the abbey, 
states that " Clerics amounting to XII. were ejected ; to whom, as 
they were left without any fixed abode, Canute gave the privilege 
which is yet held by those who are called Duodeni." In Abbot 
Baldwin's time these priests were formed into a college and placed 
over St. Denis' church, the predecessor of the present St. James' 
church, although not built on exactly the same site. 


Bishop Ailwin gave spiritual jurisdiction to the 
new abbot and exempted the monastery and town 
within the boundary of the four crosses from all 

the ife"- abbey." external interference. Lastly the king confirmed all 
that had been done by the "magnificent prelate 
Ailwin." " Summoning all the prelates, nobles and 
magnates of the kingdom to his parliament, he 
reminded them of the deeds of the said Bishop Ailwin, 
viz., of the exemption and other grants made by 
him to the aforesaid abbot and monks, and he 
graciously confirmed the same by a formal charter, 
which he signed with a cross instead of a seal, and 
all and eacli of the prelates and nobles impressed 
on it the sign of the cross, and all signed their names 
to it immediately after the illustrious name of the 
king." l 

Canute's further Canute is said to have also made a dyke to mark 

devotion to St. . . c _ - 

Edmund. the vast and magnificent patrimony or St. JKamund. 
Out of reverence and in acknowledgment of the 
final subjection of his race to St. Edmund, he more- 
over uncrowned himself and sent his crown to the 
martyr's shrine, and when he founded a college of 
white canons at Cambridge, he placed it under the 
patronage of St. Edmund. 2 

Queen Emma's Queen Emma, moved by her consort's example, 
gave, as an annual oblation of " 4,000 eels with the gifts 
pertaining to them, with the annual tribute of Laken- 

The building of No sooner had the Benedictines taken charge of 

the stone church. 

St. Edmunds tomb than, according to the tradition 
of their order, they began to build as rich and as 
worthy a church as their means would allow. For 
this purpose Bishop Ailwin supplemented Canute's 

1 Curteys' "Register." 
- Harpsfeld, p. 748. 


generosity by the carutagium. The large but rough 
timber church of Bishop Theodred was replaced by 
one of stone, only the round chapel of stone, in which 
the shrine rested, being allowed to remain. 1 It took 
twelve years to complete, and was consecrated by 
Agelnoth, archbishop of Canterbury in 1021, in 
honour of Christ, St. Mary and St. Edmund. 

The new church, however, fell far short of what TL* gn*i 
Baldwin,- the third abbot, thought suitable for his 

1 Bishop Theodred El. probably built the round chapel in stone 
after the attempt to rob the church. 

; The following is a list of abbots. See Yates" ''History of 
Bury, 7 " p. -203. 
1. Uvirs, - 1044. 
2. LEOFSTAN, - 1065. 

3. BALDWIN, - 1097. 

4. ROBERT I. of Chester, 1102, deposed. 

5. ROBERT II. of Westminster, - 1112. 

6. AI.BOLP of Beeele-*, - 1119, consecrated by Ralph, arch- 

bishop of Canterbury. 

~. AssELMof St. Saba's Rome, elected Bishop of London, - 1148. 

S. ORDING, - 1156. 

9. HC;H I. of Westminster, - 1 180. 

10. SAMPSON, - 1211. 

11. Hr;n II. of Xorthwold, made Bishop of Ely, 1228. 

12. RICHARD of Ely, - 1234. 
1.3. HENRY!., - 1248. 

14. EDMCND I. de Walpole, - 1256. 

15. SIMON de Luton, - 1279. 

16. JOHN I. of North *-old, - 1301. 

17. THOMAS L of Totynton, - 1312. 

18. THOMAS II. of Draughton. - 1335. 

19. WILLIAM I. of Bernham. - 1361, who, when a monk, had the 

famous dream about the saint's return to St. Edmund's 

20. HEXRT II. of Hunstanton, LL.B., died on his way to Rome. 

21. JOHN II. of Brimkele, LLB., -r 1379. 

22. EDMTND IL Bromfield, D.D. 

23. JOHS in. de Tymworth, - 1389. 

24. WILLIAM EL Cratfield, - 1414. 

25. WILLIAM EH. Eicetre, - 1429. 

P. P. 


abbey, and he determined to build a basilica which 
should eclipse the finest cathedrals north of the Alps, 
Baldwin had seen the churches of Italy, and, as a 
Norman, had full cognisance of what the skill and 
strength of the new nations could accomplish. H^ 
accordingly obtained a charter from William tin* 
Conqueror, and with stone from Barnacle in Nor- 
thamptonshire and from the still more distant Caen 
in Normandy began the great church of St. Edmund. 
Lydgate thus sings of it : 

" In nyne and twenty e wynters ye may see, 
A newe cherche he dyee edefie. 
Ston brought from Kane out of Normandye, 
By the se, and set upon the strande 
At Eatlysdene, and carried forth be lande." 

The church was built on the plan of the cathedra? 
of Caen. 1 The sacrists Thurstan and Tolinus super- 
intended the erection, and also prepared the newly 
carved feretra, into which the bodies of St. Botulph, 
and St. Firininus were to be translated. The builders 
spent thirty years on the mere shell, and not till 
1095 was " the precious undefiled and uncorrupted 
body of the most glorious king and martyr St. 
Edmund " placed within the enclosure of its eastern 
apse. Once finished, it continued to be the abbatial 

26. WILLIAM IV. Curteys, + 1446. In his reign flourished John 
Lydgate, who wrote the epic of St. Edmund's Life and Passion. 

27. WILLIAM V. Babynton, LL.D. 

28. JOHN IV. Boon, or Bohun, LL.B., + 1453. 

29. ROBERT III. de Ixworth, alias Robert Coote, LL.D., + 1469. 

30. ROBEBT IV. Hengham, + 1474. 

31. THOMAS III. Racclesden, S.T.B., + 1479. 

32. WILLIAM VI. Codenham, DD., + 1497. 

33. WILLIAM VII. Buntinge, + 1511. 

34. JOHN V. Melford, alias Reeve, S.T.B., 1514, + 1540. 

1 Yates (p. 77). The same writer says (p. 80) that Shaftesbnry 
abbey-church was modelled on St. Edmund's. 


church till the sixteenth century. Its cathedral pro- 
portions suggested to both Bishop Herfast and his 
successor, Bishop Herbert de Losinga, the removal to 
its sanctuary of the episcopal chair of East Anglia. 
and, apart from the additions made in the course 
of ages, its vastuess and grandeur ranked it as one of 
the greatest churches of northern Europe. 

With the building of the great church, St. Edmund's The consequent 

,. , , ,.,, . . importance of 

resting-place began to fill a conspicuous place in the abbey. 
the nation's history. Previous to Abbot Baldwin's 
time St. Edmund's influence had made itself felt 
throughout the land, but just as the history of 
England enters upon a new phase with St. Edward the 
( 'onfessor and William the Conqueror, so the his- 
torical importance of St. Edmund's Bury begins with 
the Xorman abbot and his new church. From 
Baldwin's time it became the custom for kings to 
lay their crowns on the martyr's tomb and redeem 
them at their weight in gold. Our sovereigns sum- 
moned their parliaments to meet within the abbey 
walls. St. Edmund's memorial abbey, church and 
liberty thus figure in every page of English History, 
for five hundred years. William the Conqueror con- 
firmed the abbey charters ; Rufus sent his commis- 
sioners to represent him at the translation of the saint 
in 1095. In the civil war of Stephen's reign, Prince 
Eustace made St. Edmund's Bury the centre of his 
resistance. Henry II. was crowned under the vaulted 
roof of its basilica, and from its walls he issued 
forth with St. Edmund's banner to win the battle 
of Fornham. John sought its aid, and his barons 
swore at its high altar to maintain the articles of the 
great charter. Louis the Dauphin and the French 
invaded its cloisters. In 1272, Henry III. assembled 
parliament there. Within its great refectory Edward I. 
held the famous parliament on ecclesiastical subsidies, 


while, in an adjoining room, Archbishop Winchelsey 
read to the clergy the papal constitution forbidding 
the giving up of ecclesiastical property and revenues to 
the secular power without the permission of the Pope. 
" King Edward II.," says Stowe, " kept his Christmas 
in 1326 at St. Edmund's Bury, sore afraide of the 
queene's return, and of those excited people that 
were with her, lest they should with a power of 
aliens put him downe from his kingly dignitie." 1 
His queen Isabella marched to the abbey on her 
landing on the coasts of Suffolk, and there gathered 
an army of adherents round her. Jack Straw and 
his rabble later on (A.D. 1381), after beheading the 
prior and the keepers of St. Edmund's barony, 
plundered the abbey, taking away a cross of gold, 
a rich chalice, and jewels and ornaments to the 
value of a thousand pounds. In the year 1446, on 
the feast of St. Scholastica, Henry VI. held the 
parliament in the great refectory, during whose sitting 
the good Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, regent of 
the kingdom, was found dead in his bed in St. 
Saviour's hospice, having, it is supposed, been foully 
murdered. The imperfect catalogue of events and of 
kings, bishops and notables, to which this short 
sketch must necessarily confine itself, closes with 
Henry VII. and his daughter Mary, the last Catholic 
king and queen who knelt in the basilica. Mary, 
sister of Henry VIII. and queen of Louis XII. of 
France, beheld the venerable abbey in the glory of 
its setting, and asked on her death-bed to be buried 
near the royal martyr's shrine a request willingly 
granted by the monks. 

The illustrious or enthusiastic visitors who so fre- 

The gifts of 
kings at 

come thither merely for business or to enjoy the liberal 

quently journeyed to St. Edmund's Bury did not 

1 " Annals," edit. 1592, p. 338. 


hospitality of a Benedictine abbey, but to offer their 
homage or make their supplications at the shrine 
of the martyr, and they usually left behind some sub- 
stantial proof of their devotion to the saint and his 
servants. Eoyal and noble benefactors especially 
strove to increase the influence of the institution and 
the welfare of its monks. Thus St. Edward the 
Confessor, who as frequently visited St. Edmund's st. Edward th 


tomb as other kings in after times visited his own, 
on one occasion found the young monks eating 
coarse barley-bread. " Why," he enquired of Abbot 
Leofstan, " were these young men of his kins- 
men not better fed ? " The father of the monastery 
informs him that the income of the house will not 
permit more expensive food. " Ask what you will," 
replied the king, "and I will give it to you, that 
they may be better provided for and better enabled 
to perform the service of God." The abbot, after 
consultation with the monks, asked for the manor 
of Mildenhall with its appurtenances, and the juris- 
diction of the eight hundreds and a half, with all Qivea the eight 

hundreds and 

the royalties of the district afterwards known as half 
the franchise of St. Edmund. Edward granted this 
great and important privilege, which several succeed- 
ing kings confirmed, thus extending the liberty of St. 
Edmund beyond the four crosses. 

Edward also thought that king St. Edmund should ^ 
have his own royal mint, 1 and therefore he "granted 100 "' 
that St. Edmund should have his moneyer within 
his vill." A long line of kings approved of and con- 
tinned this extraordinary privilege. King Stephen, 
Henry II. and King John granted a second and a 
third money-die. An exchanger had his bank at the 
mint. A moneyer, an assayer and a keeper of the 

1 See the History of the Mint of St. Edmund in the annals of the 
coinage of Britain, vol iv. p. 384, 1819. 


die (custos cunei), who took the oaths of their office in 
the court of the exchequer, protected all rights, and cast 
and tested the money. Being St. Edmund's mint, its 
coins bore on the obverse the name of the royal martyr. 1 
Other kings and queens proved equally generous 
towards the great abbey. They confirmed the charters 
of Athelstan, Edmund, Canute and St. Edward, and 
added others, till they reached upwards of two hundred. 2 
t The stark Conqueror confirmed the privileges granted 

by pope and prince by a special charter signed by 
himself, his queen, B. Lanfranc, St. Wulstan, St. 
Osmund, his three sons, William, Robert and Henry, 
and the principal bishops, abbots and barons of the 
realm. When Doomsday Book was drawn up, the 
patrimony of St. Edmund included manors and farms 
in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, 
Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk. William's queen, Ma- 
tilda, gave Wereketon towards the building of the 
great church, and at her death her consort added 
Scadewell in Northamptonshire, and other lands " pro 
anima reginse Matilda?," -for the soul of queen Matilda. 

Henry i. Henry I. granted a six days' fair three days befoiv 
the feast of St. James, the feast itself, and two days 
after, an important privilege in those days. King 

Richard i. Richard the Lion-Heart, on a visit to St. Edmund 
previous to his setting out for the Holy Land, gave 
his manor of Aylsham " for the maintenance of 
four wax candles to be kept burning for ever round 
the shrine of Blessed Edmund." On his return he 
sent the standard of Isaac, king of Cyprus, as an 
offering to St. Edmund. Queen Eleanor, consort of 
Henry II., gave her jewels, ten marks of gold and a 

1 See plate xii. of Anglo-Saxon coins at the end of Mr. Ruding's 
work, nos. 1-6. 

2 The charters of St. Edmund's Bury in the Harleian collection 
fill 49 folios. They are 267 in number. 


golden chalice, "in perpetuam eleemosynam. . . . 
pro intuitu charitatis et amore beati martyris " as 
a perpetual alms for cliarity and for love of the blessed 
martyr. John on a pilgrimage to the abbey, out joim. 
of reverence for the glorious martyr " " ob reverentiani 
martyris Edmundi " (so ran the deed of gift) offered 
a large sapphire, a ruby set in gold, and ten marks 
annually at Easter to repair the " feretrum martyris." 
Henry III. gave to the church of St. Edmund a Henry HI. 
'' golden cup for the Body of the Lord." Henry VI. Homy vi. 
after his visit gave a general remission of all taxes, 
and, for those days, the large yearly pension of 
7 13s. 4d. Foreign potentates, nobles and eccle- 
siastics swelled the list of benefactors, so that, in 
the course of centuries, St. Edmund's liberty embraced 
a third of Norfolk and Suffolk, and the abbot held 
the patronage of 75 benefices and the lordship of 171 
vills or manors. J 

The popes "enerously seconded the love and The patronage 

J of the Roman 

devotion of the faithful by bestowing abundant Pontlfls - 
spiritual gifts. Sixty papal bulls were religiously 
preserved in the abbey chests. Abbot Baldwin in 
person procured the first confirmation of the privi- 
leges of the monastery from Pope Alexander II., Alexander 11., 


and other pontiffs subsequently renewed and amplified 
them. Pope Alexander, in issuing the first bull, 
invested the abbot with the pastoral staff and ring, 
delegated to him the cure of souls, and presented to 
St. Edmund's church a porphyry altar ~ with the 

1 See Leland's " Collectanea," vol. i. p. 249, and Dugdale's 
" Monasticon, " vol. iii. p. 165, edit. 1821. 

2 This altar was carefully preserved, with the following inscription 
upon it : 

" Altaris mensam cum reliquiis bene comptam 
Dat, sacratque hanc nobis Baldwino Pater orbis, 
Pontificum sydus, Alexanderque secundus." 


privilege of celebrating mass upon it even in time 
of interdict, provided the church-doors were closed 
and the reigning pope had not expressly prohibited 
it. Dr. Yates thinks that the precise nature and 
extent of the privileges granted to the abbey by the 
supreme pontiffs cannot be easily ascertained, but it 
is not difficult on examination to see that they 
precisely amounted to what is known in ecclesiastical 
language as the independence of an abbas nullius, 
i.e., an abbot exempt from episcopal control and 
himself exercising a bishop's jurisdiction over his 
abbey and around it. 1 For the ordination of his 
subjects, however, and in a few other instances, the 

caiiixtusii., bull of Pope Callixtus II. required him to call in 

a Catholic bishop, though he could choose whom 

Gregory ix.. he ^ovld. The bulls of Pope Gregory IX. explain 
these exemptions more at large. One ordains that 
no person except the lioman Pontiff or his legate 
a latere shall, in the town of St. Edmund or within 
its four crosses, claim to himself any power or right, 
or celebrate any public mass, or build any convent, 
oratory or chapel, or hold any synod, or exercise any 

Alexander in., episcopal office. Pope Alexander III. granted a second 

1 ir>Q 

bull of exemption from any interdict pronounced 
upon the rest of the country, by which he permitted 
the abbot and convent, with doors shut, the inter- 
dicted and excommunicated excluded, without the 
ringing of bells, and with a low voice, to celebrate 
mass and the divine office. The same pontiff made 
Abbot Hugh papal legate, an office generally reserved 
A.D. iios. to the archbishops of Canterbury ; and, at the Council 
of Tours, Hugh sat before the abbot of St. Alban's, 

1 Hence one of the devices of the abbey consisted of a mitre and 
two keys saltierwise within it, signifying that the abbot was subject 
nullo media to the Pope, the successor of St. Peter, and the holder 
of the keys. 


who then ranked as the first of the Benedictine 
abbots of England. Pope Innocent IV. not only 
exempted the abbey from any visit from his 
envoy Boniface, archbishop of Canterbury, but he 
ordered that prelate to excommunicate Richard Earl 
of Gloucester, who was harassing the monks and 
trying to force them to surrender certain rights. 
In consequence of these exemptions, archbishops or 
bishops, when they visited St. Edmund, averred 
that they did so saving the rights of his servants, 
and respecting the privileges granted to them by the 
apostolic see. Callixtus III. designed the highest 
honour for St. Edmund's Bury, and thought of raising 
it to an episcopal see, but, to the monks' joy, he 
did not carry out his intention. l 

Made free and independent, temporally and spiri- 
tually, the abbots were able to use their wealth and 
influence for the good of religion, the support of 
the poor and strangers, and the education of 
children. This wealth has now indeed fallen into 
other hands, but not to be better employed. The 
turf and the gambling hall, the banquet table and 
the ball-room consume much of what the monks 
expended for the glory of God and the happiness 
of the people. For the monastery was not merely 
the abode of those who kept up the perennial office 
of the church, it was likewise hospice, school, college, 
almonry, bank and library, in a word a public 
institution, and not the exclusive possession of an 
individual. Hence to detail the work of the four- 
and-thirty abbots who in the course of five hundred 
years ruled St. Edmund's Bury, is merely to describe 
the growth of a great national and religious foundation, 

1 Henry VIII. and Charles I., by that spiritual supremacy 
supposed to have been given them by act of parliament, both 
entertained the idea of making St. Edmund's Bury a bishopric. 

1 1 ^ <>ftpnt IV - 


of thn 


inspired by the example and virtue of its saintly 

Baldwin, 3rd Bald win was the first abbot of St. Edmund's Bury 
who built on a vast scale. He left the great church 
as a memorial of his genius and piety. He raised 
the Norman tower or " great gateway of the church 
of St. Edmund," a fair specimen of the work of 
this saintly abbot which competent judges now 
pronounce to be unrivalled among the romanesque 
structures of Europe. 

itobcrt ii. of Robert of Westminster prosecuted the work of 

Westminster, -,, . TT . , ., , , i < j P , 

sth abbot, 1102. Bald win. His sacrist, ' Godefndus, a man of gigantic 
stature, but greater in mind than in body," completed 
the refectory, the chapter-house, the infirmary and 
the abbot's palace. l Abbot Robert also bought 
the great bell, which in 1521 was said to be the 
largest in England.' 2 

Anseim of st. Under Anselm, the seventh abbot, the nephew of 
abbot,' mo, St. Anselm, many of the chapels in the basilica 
were completed. Baldwin, although he had spent 
thirty years in raising the massive thick walls of 
fiint and boulder cased with smooth stone, had not 
even finished the shell of the great church. He left 
it to his successors to complete and add the minor 
details of chapel and altar. During the reign of 
Abbots Robert I., Robert II. and Albold, which 
covered a period of twenty-four years, the building 
had increased apace, and Abbot Anselm now dedicated 
many of its chapels and altars. He placed an altar in 
the porch under the protection of St. Saba, in 
memory probably of St. Saba's on the Aventine in 
Rome, of which he had been abbot. He completed 

1 These additions to the monastery necessitated the final demoli- 
tion of old St. Mary's, which was re-erected on another site. 
Battely, p. 57. 

- Consecrated by Ralph, Archbishop of Canterbury. 


and blessed the chapels of St. Martin, St. Faith, 
virgin and martyr, and the altar of blessed Peter 
the apostle. He erected the altar of the Holy Cross 
in the choir, for the "ruby rood" or "pity rood," a 
copy of the " Holy Face " of Lucca, which abbot 
Leofstan had caused to be made, and which Abbot 
Anselm now blessed, after putting many relics 
behind it. l 

On becoming abbot, Anselm desired to make a imiids st. 

James' clinrcli. 

long contemplated pilgrimage to St. James of 
Compostella, but his counsellors thought it more 
beneficial for him to stay at home, and build 
instead a church under the invocation of St. James. 
Anselm accordingly erected the first parish church 
of St. James on the site of the present one. It took 
the place of St. Denis' church, 2 which the abbot 
ordered to be taken down on account of its close 
proximity to the great basilica, whose facade it pre- 
vented from being widened. On the removal of the 
church of St. Denis, the builders commenced the 
north wing of the facade of the basilica, which was 
to comprise an octagonal tower and two chapels to 
correspond with the similar constructions of the 
south wing. The amount of building undertaken and 
completed at this period, under the sacrists Ealph 
and Harvey, is almost incredible. The facade of the 
great church, with its five towers was finished, and 
also St. James' church with tower and belfry, which 
C'orbeuil, archbishop of Canterbury, opened and conse- 
crated at the invitation of the abbot, at the same 
time as he dedicated the chapel of St. Michael in 

1 The people, says Battely, held this crucifix, which was one of 
the chief treasures of the abbey, in great veneration. It seems to 
have stood at various times at the altar of St. Peter, at the altar 
of the Holy Cross and in the south transept. 

2 Built by Abbot Baldwin in memory of St. Denis', Paris, to 
which he had belonged. 


the infirmary. At this period also, the church of 

st. Hair*. blessed Mary was completed, and its tower and belfry 
furnished with loud-sounding bells like those in the 
st. Mar-art-fs. j tower of St. James'. St. Margaret's, a third church, 
was also built on the site of the chapel and tower 
which Albold had put up with Abbot Baldwin's 
permission. l To replace a little stone chapel held in 
great veneration, but inconveniently situated near the 
river Linnet, which it was desired to widen, the 
chapel of St. Andrew in the brethren's cemetery 
was finished and painted, so that therein " the whole 
community might daily chant the Placebo and the 
Dirige for all in the cemetery." Ralph and Harvey 
likewise built the first wall round the abbey precincts. 
The walls round the town and a hospital were built 
at the same time, towards which the townspeople 
did a part, but " it was as a spring to a river," 
say the registers, compared to Sacrist Harvey's. 

The bronze In the midst of rough stone and mortar, more 

artistic work was not forgotten. Brother Hugh 
skilfully wrought the beaten doors of bronze which 
adorned the western entrance of the great church 
and rivalled those which Abbot Anselm had seen 
at Monte Cassino. The same " Master Hugh," with 
incomparable skill, painted and adorned the chapels 

The library. of the basilica, and also the library of the monastery, 
for which Prior Talbot, with the aid of the sacrist, 
had caused books to be written. 

ording, sth Abbot Ording, the successor of Anselm, dedicated 

abbot, 1148. 

the chapel of St. Giles, but the sudden destruction of 
the monastery interrupted the work of beautifying the 
church ; for in the year 1152 a great fire consumed the 
abbot's palace, the refectory, dormitory, chapter-house, 
infirmary and other buildings. At once, however, the 

1 Abbot Anselm invited John, Bishop of Rochester to consecrate 
St. Mary's and St. Margaret's, as well as many of the chapels. 


work of reconstruction commenced. The designs for 
the new buildings rivalled in splendour those of 
Geoffrey, or Godefridus, the sacrist, in the time of 
Henry I. The bath was altogether a new construction 
by Sacrist Helyas, Ording's nephew. The monks aimed at 
re-erecting the buildings on a larger scale and in solid 
stone, but unfortunately the treasury failed in the 
latter years of Abbot Hugh, who had succeeded 
Ording in 1156. Abbot Hugh, in the words of Hugh of 

. . Westminster, 

Jocelin, was "a pious and kind man, a good and otl1 aWl t. " so - 

religious monk, but not wise or heedful in worldly 

affairs. To be sure good governance and religion 

waxed warm in the cloister, but out of doors affairs 

were badly managed .... The townships of 

the abbot and all the hundreds were set out to farm, 

and the forests were destroyed, the manor-houses 

threatened to fall, and everything daily got worse 

and worse. There was but one recourse and relief 

to the abbot, and that was to take up moneys on 

interest, so that thereby he might be able in some 

measure to keep up the dignity of the house." In 

other words, Abbot Hugh in his old age became the 

prey of the Jews, and when he died, on a pilgrimage to 

St. Thomas a Becket's tomb, from a fall from his horse, 

he left to his successor, Abbot Samson of Tottingham, a samson, ictii 

far-stretching pile of unfinished buildings, an exhausted 

exchequer and a heap of Jewish bonds. The broad-minded 

clear-sighted Samson, the special protege of St. Edmund 

and his devoted servant, was a man admirably fitted 

to put things in order. He possessed the qualities 

of a good ruler ; he knew what men to choose, and 

he trusted them ; he could be cautious : " We must 

Hrst creep and gradually learn to walk," he said of 

himself at starting. He had patience with abuses, 

till he could correct them. He knew how to seize 

his opportunities, well aware that the proper use of 


one chance of doing the right thing brings with it 
twenty others. He had the will and the energy to 
silently grapple with every difficulty of finance, 
discipline and government. He applied these quali- 
ties of a great ruler to the temporal affairs of his 
abbey, without, however, neglecting his chief duty, 
the spiritual welfare of his subjects. He pacified 
the townsmen by grunting them a charter. He 
arranged with the Jews, and was satisfied only 
when he saw them safely beyond St. Edmund's 
liberty. Many of the abbey buildings had been 
temporarily thatched with reeds. With the assistance 
of Hugh the sacrist, he roofed them with tiles, the 
more securely to prevent danger from tire. He 
took down the guest-house, the almonry and 
the halls for the entertainment and relief of strangers 
and pilgrims, which, since the fire, had been con- 
structed of wood, and re-erected them in stone, 
defraying the expense with part of what " Brother 
Walter the Physician had acquired by his practice 
of medicine." He founded and endowed the hospital 
of St. Saviour at the north gate of the town, and a 
new free school at the south-east corner of the great 
cemetery. Every manor, farm and wood in St. 
Edmund's patrimony was revalued and set in order. 
The completion of the greater part of the choir, the 
addition of one storey to the west tower, a pulpit, a 
new rood with the usual figures, a richly carved 
abbatial chair, a new palace, and several towers and 
chapels were among the achievements of Abbot 
Samson's reign. He also provided a leaden conduit 
to convey water underground to the abbey from a 
source two miles off". Under his direction the sacrist, 
Kobert of Gravel, planted and enclosed the vineyard 
" ad solatium intirmornm et amicorum ; " and Prior 
Walter de lUuilmm began the marble lavatory, which 

mntrsis KISKJ AXD MARTTK, 399 

his successor Prior John of Gosford finished. Above 
all he prepared a marble base and a new and cosily 
shrine for the body of his master ad y*atron Edmund. 
whose face on the night of the feast of St. Gadieriue, 
1198, he presumed to uncover and look upon. 
Enumerating the test of tine deeds of Abbot Samson, 
life biographer, Joeelin, recounts how he became royal 
justiciary, confessor of Henry II,, the adviser of 
Richard and John, and the respected spiritual father 
of kings and barons. At last by prudent manage- 
ment, by a careful protection of his abbey from the 
encroachments of others and by a new confirmation 
of its privileges by Rome, Saiuson raised his monastery 
and church to the highest state of prosperity. 1 He 
died full of honour on the 3rd of January, 1211, 

His successor, Hu;h of Xorthwold, did little towards Hnpii 11. r 

, , Xnrrtiw<,ld, nth. 

the madbenal improvement of M, Edmund s patnmony. ***<* 121R - 
Hie political events of tle time, tine drawing-np of 
the articles of Hagna Oliarta, tlie consequent civil 
war, the invasion of the abbey-town by one party 
afiber another, and the final robbery of die martyr's body 
by the French, all concurred to prevent tine under- 
taking of any great work. One memorial, however, 
of St Edmund is connected widi Abbot Hugh II. 
At the foot of his tomb in the cathedral of Ely, of 
which he died bishop, the legend of St Edmund's 
martyrdom is sculptured, as a last sad tribute to 
the saint from the abbot in whose reign England 
lost the royal martyr's body. From this period, then, 
the material improvements to the abbey are few and 
far between. The institution was now consolidated, 

1 TVe latter day* of Abbot Samson were troubled *d $4onuy. 
4<A^ TKit to tfce KMWstei7 w 1901 a*i 130S, Uw nx^ting of the 
Karats tiwov u 13Ki, tfce intordkt i I30S, tlw Mowuq; dom-n of 
live grcatt twr ia 1210, east a <do*4 of <wrow ovr th 


and its traditions established ; and the absence of the 
martyr's body withdrew the motive power for further 
improvements and adornments. From time to time, 
however, the abbots made additions which vied in 
beauty and solidity with any work of their prede- 
simou <ie Lnton, C essors. Thus Simon de Luton, the loth abbot, at 

iftth abbot, 1257. 

his own expense and that of his parents, built the 
Lady Chapel adjoining the north transept. 1 In 
digging the foundations for this new sanctuary, the 
monks came across the walls of the ancient round 
chapel and the stone base in its centre, where St. 
Edmund's body had rested for 192 years. 2 
John of Northwold. Simon of Luton's successsor, 

John of 

Nortuwoi.i, itstii presents another example of abbatial munificence 

abbot. 12(i). I 

by his foundation and endowment of the chapel in the 
cemetery, known as the Chapel of the Charnel, " for 
the perpetual celebration of two masses by two 
chaplains " for the souls of those buried around. Abbot 
.John of Northwold also founded for the said two 
chaplains the house of residence, which afterwards 
grew into the Jesus College of the guild or fraternity of 
the Holy or Sweet Xame of Jesus. 

The wrecking of the abbey by an infuriated mob 
DraugHon/isti! in 1327 brought about the building of a second 
' massive embattled wall around the precincts. 
The justices awarded 140,000 as compensation for 
the damage done, and the insult and indignity to 
which the rioters had subjected the Abbot, Thomas of 
Draughton ; and although, at King Edward III.'s 
request, the abbot and convent at first remitted part 
and then the whole of the fine, they were able to build 
on a magnificent and extensive scale. The abbot's bridge 
and the abbey gate-way still remain as samples. 3 

1 A.D. 1272. 

-' From A.D. 903 to A.D. 1095. 

:f After this riot the town obtained independent authority as a 
corporation with a common seal, custody of the town gates, etc. 


It fell to the lot of Abbot William Curteys to wmiamiv. 

J Curteys, 26th 

rebuild the central tower of the church, which in abbot, 1430. 
the course of four hundred years had yielded to decay 
and partly fallen. The Pope granted a plenary 
indulgence to all contributors, and the abbot was thus 
able to raise a lantern tower worthy of its surroundings. 
From these details it is easy to form some idea of 
the building up of St. Edmund's patrimony. 

Learning and holiness distinguished its rulers to General 

. . . character of 

the last, the happy result ot the community retain- tiie abbots, 
ing the freedom of election, with which even kings 
dared not interfere from fear of St. Edmund. The 
known ability and virtue of the abbots of St. 
Edmund's Bury obtained for them the highest 
olfices of trust in Church and state. Of the later 
abbots, Cratfield was one of the proctors of Arch- 
bishop Arundel at the council held at St. Paul's 
for the suppression of the Lollard heresy. William 
Babynton, LL. I)., held the office of president of 
the Benedictine order in England, 1 and the last 
abbot, John Mel ford, alias Keeve, in 1520 was one 
of the king's privy councillors. 

The dissolution of the noble and magnificent The dissolution 

, ., . . , . , .-, i n ,-, IT of St. Edmund's 

institution winch these pages but lamtly delineate, patrimony, 
comes like a shock on the historian. Why should 
it have been so ruthlessly beaten to the ground 
that scarcely a stone is left upon a stone to 
mark its site ? One of Henry VIII.'s commissioners 
wrote that "he found nothing suspect as touching 
his (the abbot's) lyving," and what he said of the 
abbot he had also to say of the 59 monks who formed 
the community. 2 He found but " little fault " at the 

1 Abbot William Codenham, D.D., was the patron of Thomas 
afterwards Cardinal Wolsey, to whom he presented the rectory 
of Hengrave. 

2 There were also three monks at Gloucester Hall, Oxford, 

C C 


time of his visit, yet the abbey was not saved. Four 
agents of Cromwell superintended the rifling of the 
church and monastery. They burnt or threw away 
as rubbish, the relics of St. Edmund, St. Thomas a 
Becket, St. Lawrence and even the relic of the holy 
cross. By the providence of God the body of the 
royal martyr was not there to be subjected to their 
impieties. Not so the costly shrine which had 
contained it. " Please your lordship," they wrote, 
" to be advertised that wee have been at Saynt 
Edmond's Bury, where we found a riche shrine, 
which was very comberous to deface. We have 
taken in the said monastery in gold and silver 
MMMMM. (5,000) marks and above ; over and 
besyds, as well, a rich cross with emeredds as also 
dyvers and sundry stones of great value, &c., &c." 
What surprises the antiquarian most, is the com- 
pleteness of the destruction. Would that the tyrant, 
who saved Peterborough because of the tomb of Queen 
Catherine, had spared St. Edmund's Bury, the resting- 
place of his sister, Mary, queen dowager of Prance ! 
If St. Edmund's great church, vaster and more massive 
than Durham and not less venerable, had merely been 
left deserted and uncared for, exposed to the rains and 
storms of three centuries, something more would have 
remained than a gateway or a broken arch ; but malice 
employed gunpowder to destroy quickly and abso- 
lutely this noble architectural monument, this stately 
memorial pile, upon a more magnificent than which 
" the sun has not shone," and which a few years 
previous seemed indestructible. "Greater loss than 
this," writes Camden, "so far as the works of man 
go, England never suffered." The possessions of the 

the English Benedictine house of studies, now Worcester College. 
At the dissolution 43 out of the 62 received pensions. (Yates 
p. 257.) 


royal martyr lands, churches and houses all over 
England passed into other hands, and their present 
owners probably know little, and think less, of 
the saint whose patrimony they enjoy. 

The curse invoked, in many a charter and deed of ije punishment 

of tneclespoilers. 

gift, upon any who should violate St. Edmund's 
rights, fell most terribly on the despoilers. The 
charter of King Canute prayed that " eternal 
captivity " might seize those who robbed St. Edmund, 
and that they " might be given to the service of 
the devil, and with him be bound in inextricable 
chains." St. Edward's charter ends with the terrify- 
ing words, " Si aliquis fuerit ita vesanus per 
incitamenta diaboli, quod velit hanc libertatem mutare, 
sive in aliquo adnichillare vel depravare, sit ille 
anathematizatus, et in gehennain ignis demersus, nisi 
in vita sua resipuerit." " If any one shall be so mad- 
dened by the incitements of the devil, that he 
determine to alter the boundaries of St. Edmund's 
Liberty, or to nullify it or spoil it in any way, let 
him be anathematized and drowned in the fire of 
hell, unless he come to his senses in this life." 
Spelman in his " History of Sacrilege," after mention- 
ing the fate of Prince Eustace and of the young 
Count Leofstan, relates how the intruders into St. 
mund's manors all perished miserably. John Eyre, 
for example, purchased the site of the venerable 
church from Queen Elizabeth on February 4, 1560. 
Little, even at that time, remained of the ruined 
and desecrated sanctuary, but the heaps of stones 
and boulders which lay around were part of the 
bargain, and the whole was valued at 615, though 
the purchaser seems to have paid only 412 19s. 4d. 
The purchaser died childless ; and during a period of 
244 years, i.e. from 1560 to 1804, twelve families one 
after the other got possession of the site, never to 


pass it on from father to son. It is now the 
property of the town. 

Tne monks > though they had lost their abbey, did 
not forget their saint. Forced by the persecutions 
of the time to seek a refuge abroad, they no sooner 
rallied again into a congregation than they revived 
in a foreign land the greater convents of their own. 
They reconstituted the ancient cathedral chapters, 
and the succession of the cathedral priors has survived 
to the present day. In corporate bodies they con- 
tinued the greater abbeys St. Alban's at Douai in 
Flanders ; Westminster at Dieulouard in Lorraine ; 
Glastonbury at St. Malo in Normandy ; and St. 
Edmund's Bury at St. Edmund's, Paris. The new 
St. Edmund's in the Faubourg St. Jacques be- 
came almost as illustrious as the old, if not 
for architectural beauty and extent, at least, 
by royal benefactions and for the renowned per- 
sonages who visited it, or lay buried within its 
itsdistinguisiie.1 Several of its monks fill an honourable place in the 


annals of the Benedictine order, like Dom Clement 
Tieyner, one of its first members and the compiler of 
the " Apostolatus Benedictinus " ; the martyr monk 
Alban Roe ; and Dom Placid Gascoigne, prior of the 
monastery, and afterwards abbot of Lambspring and 
president of the English Benedictine Congregation ; 
of whom the annalist writes " that he was very exact 
in that part of the rule which commands the abbot 
to first practise himself what he commands others 
to do. " Add to these Dom Benet Weldon, the 
chronicler of the house and order, Father Francis 
Fen wick, the eloquent preacher and learned theologian, 
whom James II. sent as his representative to the 
court of Eome, and Dom Charles, afterwards Bishop, 
Walmesley, the famous scientist and mathematician, 


whom English statesmen consulted before adopting 
the Gregorian calendar. 

The monastery of St. Edmund at Paris, once founded, The history of 

. St. Edmund's at 

became the rendezvous of the noble and illustrious Pans. 
Catholic and even Protestant English who, for political 
or religious reasons, sought refuge in the French 
capital ; and great names figure in the list of bene- 
factors who, out of devotion to the royal martyr or 
desirous of his protection, endowed his monastery 
and its sons with worldly possessions. Of these the 
name of Archbishop Giffard, its quasi-founder, stands 
first. The monks could afterwards add to the list 
Anne of Austria, the queen-mother of Louis XIV., 
and Maria Henrietta, queen of the unfortunate Charles 
I., who " on all occasions showed her royal favour to 
the house." Louis the Great gave an annual donation 
of 25 to the monastery and a gift of 7,000 livres 
towards the building of its new church, besides 
granting letters patent for the protection of the house. 
The monks in return for these favours were to 
offer up a solemn mass on the feast of St. Louis for 
the health and prosperity of his majesty and his 
royal successors for ever. Not satisfied with what 
he had done previously, the king in 1671 accorded 
to all the professed monks of St. Edmund's the 
privilege of naturalisation, so that they became capable 
of possessing, for support of their community, such 
benefices of the order as might be bestowed upon 
them. This privilege he extended to any monk of 
the order visiting or residing in St. Edmund's 
monastery, provided he continued his studies as far 
as master of arts. 

The continuity of the new St. Edmund's with its continuity 

with the past. 

the past was so far recognised that the owners in 
England contemplated the restitution to the monks 
of their ancient home. Dom Benet Weldon, the 


annalist, writes that " when ye king (James IT.) was 
on ye crown [sic], as our house here in Paris bare 
ye name of ye Holy Martyr, St. Edmund, king of 
the East Angles ; those who had the land of our 
old great abbey of St. Edmund's in England, frivolously 
and vainly apprehensive yt we should again re-enter 
into all, they proposed to ours ye sale of 'em ; but 
his majesty acquainted therewith advised our fathers 
not to undertake ye affair yt they might not give 
occasion to publick clamours and noises yt would 
be seditiously made under pretext yt ye monks were 
a going to be put into possession of all again ; where- 
fore our fathers humbly submitting to his majesty's 
sentiment let fall ye affaire." 

n of -^ n May, 1674, took place an event which ranks 
paris. with similar ones in the history of old St. Edmund's 
the erection of a monastic church in the royal martyr's 
honour, sadly inferior indeed in size and magnificence 
to Baldwin's noble basilica, but more stately far than 
" ye poor old church " which Prior Sherburn began 
to pull down on St. Joseph's feast, which came that 
year (1674) on April the 4th. "On May the 29th 
following, on a Tuesday, the Duke of Orleans' 
daughter 1 by Henrietta of England, laid the first 
stone of the new church. My Lord Abbot Montaigne 
officiated, who gave about 100 to the building. At 
the time the old church was pulled down, the old 
dortory was also pulled down." Lord Abbot Montaigne, 
" first almoner to the queen of England," was not the 
only benefactor who came forward to help in the 
building up of the new church. King Louis gave his 
7,000 livres, and the archbishop of Paris issued a 

1 She afterwards (A.D. 1679) became queen of Spain, and died 
when she was only 27 years old, after three days of sickness, having 
received the last sacraments with exemplary piety. 


letter soliciting alms, to be read on August the 5th, 
1675, in all the churches of his diocese. 

The new church of St Edmund could not boast its completion 
of much architectural beauty. In fact, the site, if 
nothing else, hindered anything like display. The 
monks had only a narrow strip of land to build upon, 
which was hemmed in between the Renaissance glories 
of the royal Benedictine nunnery of Val-de-Grace and 
the austere sternness of the Feuillan tines, while the 
great Carmelite convent over against them literally 
overshadowed it. Instead of thirty years St. Edmund's 
church at Paris took only three years to erect. The 
Abbe de Noailles, afterwards archbishop of Paris and 
Cardinal, blessed it, the Duchess of Cleveland, Sir 
Henry Tichborne and his lady, and other illustrious 
personages being present at the inaugural ceremony. 

From this date the monastery of St. Edmund Sst^mn 
became still more important, not only by chapters of Pam ' 
the English Benedictine Congregation continuing to 
be held there from time to time, and by the revision 
of the Anglo-Benedictine constitutions made with- 
in its walls, but especially by the vaults at its 
north-west end becoming the favourite burial-place "^7ace t of 
of English Catholic exiles, and particularly of those Englis " exiles 
who, whether from a false idea of loyalty or not, faith- 
fully followed the fortunes of the Stuart line. The 
annalist of the monastery gives the names and 
epitaphs of several of the honoured dead who lay 
interred there. Sir Francis Anderton, Lord Lostock, 
a great benefactor to St. Edmund's, found a resting- 
place in the martyr's church. Lord Lauderdale 
before his death desired the monks to bury him, and 
they laid his body in their vaults. Mr. Francis 
Stafford, whom James II. had sent to St. Edmund's 
to prepare for death, and who gloried in being a son 
of that Viscount Stafford, better known as Lord 


Stafford, the aged and venerable victim of Titus 
Gates' perjury, breathed his last in the monastery 
and was laid to rest in its church. 
Ami of the last Last of all, James II. himself, after his death at 

.Stuart king. r<, /-< T i -. / i<tf\t 

St. Germam-en-Laye, September 16, 1/01, was em- 
balmed and the next night conveyed in a hearse to 
St. Edmund's church. He had always loved St. 
Edmund; and his children, notably James III., the 
Chevalier St. George, and Charles, the Young 
Pretender, frequently visited the monastery, as their 
royal ancestors had visited St. Edmund's more stately 
abbey in England. Perhaps they regarded St. 
Edmund as the patron and protector of kingly 
rights, as he certainly was of the people's liberties. 
James II. had his own chamber or cell in the 
monastery, where, in the days of his adversity, he 
used to make his pious retreats ; for James in 
adversity was a very different man from James in 
prosperity. So when he died, the monks received 
the last Stuart king and laid him on a hearse in 
the chapel which " my Lord Cardigan " had erected ; 
and the Benedictines of France and England conjointly 
performed the sad obsequies according to the rites of 
royal funerals in France. The royal corpse reposed 
in state unburied and incorrupt for 112 years, awaiting 
the day when it should be taken to England and 
honourably interred in Westminster Abbey. Wax 
tapers were constantly kept burning round the coffin 
till the French revolution, for a report had spread 
abroad that miracles were wrought at the tomb 
of the unfortunate James, who, though anything but 
a saint at one period of his life, had been remarkable 
for the penance and holiness of his latter days. 1 

1 Agnes Strickland in her history of Queen Ann (edit. 1875) 
gives a further account of James II.'s body. The revolutionists 
on opening the coffin found the corpse entire and in an 


Among other historic names connected with St. Historic 


Edmund's, Paris, occurs that of Bossuet, the Eagle of 
Meaux. St. Francis of Sales also, won by the exemplary 
regularity of the community, visited St. Edmund's 
whenever he came to Paris, and special mention is 

extraordinary state of preservation. The municipal authorities 
took possession of the hearse and body, and charged from a sou to a 
franc for admission to see it. In the midst of the infidelity of the 
Revolution whispers went about of miracles performed by the 
corpse of James II. Robespierre gave orders for the body to be 
buried, which was not done, but it was carefully and reverently 
preserved. When the allies came to Paris in 1813, the corpse of 
the unfortunate James II. still remained above ground. The 
strange circumstances having been mentioned to George IV., he 
ordered the remains of his kinsman to be carried in funeral 
procession from Paris to St. Germain-en-Laye, and there interred 
in the church. The long-delayed funeral of James II. then took 
place with royal grandeur. No mourners of his lineage attended 
his coffin on its return to St. Germain, for his race had passed 
away ; yet his people followed him to the grave, for most of the 
English in Paris, setting aside all religious and political differences, 
attended the cortege in deepest mourning. A monument was 
raised to his memory in the church. 

In "Notes and Queries," vol. 2, p. 243 (quoted by Agnes 
Strickland), a certain Mr. Fitzsimons writes as follows : 

"During the French Revolution of Terror, I was a prisoner in 
the convent of the English Benedictines, Rue St. Jacques. In the 
year 1793 or 1794 the body of James II. was still in one of the chapels 
there, awaiting interment in Westminster Abbey. It had never 
beni buried. The body was in a wooden coffin, enclosed in a 
leaden one, and that again in one covered with black velvet. 
While I was there, the Sansculottes broke the coffins to get at the 
lead, to cast bullets. The body lay exposed a whole day ; it had 
been embalmed. The corpse was beautiful and perfect ; the hair 
and nails were very fine. I moved and bent every finger. I never 
saw so fine a set of teeth in my life. A young lady, a fellow 
prisoner, wished much to have a tooth ; I tried to get one out for 
her, but could not, they were so firmly fixed. The feet also were 
very beautiful. The face and cheeks were just as if he were alive. 
I rolled his eyes, and the eyeballs were perfectly firm under my 
fingers. Money was given to the Sansculottes for showing the 
body. They said he was a good Sansculotte, and that they were 


made in the annals of the house of the honour which 
the saint showed it on more than one occasion. Then 
as now all the world visited Paris, and English 
travellers and tourists naturally took an interest in 
a community which spoke their own tongue. Hence 
Dr. Johnson, the venerable lexicographer, (who, his 
chatty biographer tells us, visited Paris with the 
Thrales in 1778,) wrote in his diary : " I was very 
kindly treated by the English Benedictines, and had 
a cell appropriated to me in their convent." The 
honoured name of Benjamin Franklin likewise, occurs 
in the guest-book of the English monks. While 
iii Paris, Franklin frequently sat at their table, and 
from them he learnt those principles of government 
of the common Benedictine law, which he embodied 
in the American constitution, so that the inde- 
pendence of the United States received its form 
under the same auspices as the charter of English 
st. Edmund's Thus the new St. Edmund's in many ways 

at Donai. * 

rivalled the old. To those who clung to the old faith 
it was a place of pilgrimage still. In the esteem of 
the Benedictine order and of the royal line of 
Stuarts it held its place as of yore. At the great 
revolution, however, the political and social dis- 
turbances in France again scattered the monks and 
plundered their convent. The Benedictines never 
entirely abandoned the monastery ; the original property 
is still administered for their benefit, but they have 
never returned to it. When the storm cleared, they 
revived the memories of St. Edmund's, Paris, and old 

going to put him into a hole in the churchyard, like other 
Sansculottes ; and the body was carried away, but whither I never 
heard. Around the chapel of St. Jacques several wax moulds 
were hung up at the time of the king's death : the corpse was 
very like them." 



St. Edmund's Bury at St. Edmund's, Douai, where 
they took up the work of the former English colleges 
in that venerable city. May they, however, without 
injury to their present patrimony or diminution of 
their work in the land of exile, develope one day a 
central home in their own country, as magnificent and 
far-stretching as St. Edmund's Bury of old. 

Seal of flfiofccrn St EMtiund'0. 

Go litel book, beferfful, quaak for drede, 
Ffor t' appere in so hyh presence. 

To alle folk, that the shal seen or reede 
Submytte thysylff with humble reverence. 
To be refourmyd, wher men fynde offence, 

Meekly requeryng ; voyde offpresumpcion 

Wher thow faylest to do correccion. 

Lydgate, Harl. MS. 2278. 



THE hospice of St. Edmund K. M. an earlier 
foundation than that of St. Thomas owed its 
establishment to a Mr. and Mrs. Whyte, assisted by 
kind benefactors from England, in the year 1300 (the 
first jubilee), or 1350 (the second jubilee). It was 
situated in the Campo di Eiori close to the old church 
of St. Chrysogonus beyond the Tiber. Its object was 
twofold (1) to support a number of priests, w.ho 
would offer Mass and daily devotions for all benefac- 
tors living and dead ; (2) to receive into the hospice 
and to give spiritual and corporal succour to the 
sick and infirm English pilgrims. The hospice was 
well supported, and after a short time rebuilt on a 
larger scale and endowed with property in the im- 
mediate neighbourhood. Since, however, the site of St. 
Thomas' Hospice (now the English College in the 
Via di Monserrato) was found more healthy, more 
central, and in the immediate neighbourhood of 
similar institutions for the Spaniards, Swedes, Flem- 
ings, etc., it was decided in 1463 to merge the two 
English hospices into one. A warden and twelve 


chaplains presided over the new institution, officiated 
in the church and ministered in the hospital. They 
likewise dispensed free hospitality to all national 
pilgrims whilst they visited the churches of Eome 
and performed their devotions. The poor had eight 
days allowed for this purpose, the noble and rich 
three days. The hospice received and nursed the sick 
and infirm pilgrims till they were cured. The warden 
had full parish priest's rights within the precincts of 
the hospice. The dead were buried in the national 
cemetery of St. Thomas. (See " The Catholic Magazine 
and Eeview " from January to December, 1832, vol. 
ii. p. 408. Printed at Birmingham by R P. Stone. 
The particulars are probably taken from the papers 
of the English College. Hence the reference " Bulla 
in Arckivio," pp. 410-412.) 

The chapel of St. Edmund seems to have existed for 
some time afterwards independent of the hospice. Hence 
Signer Armellini on the churches of Rome (" Le Chiese 
di Roma," di Mariano Armellini, pt. ii. p. 682. Tipogr. 
\ r atic., 1891.) writes that St. Edmund's was only "a 
small oratory of the Trastevere, near the church of 
St. John Baptist of the Genoese." Of it Martinelli 
says that it was erected a quodam Anglo "by some 
Englishman" and hence depended on the English 
College. Xeither chapel nor hospice now exists, 
but the church of the Genoese, near which they stood, 
is just behind St. Cecilia's, not far from S. Maria dell' 
Orto, St. Chrysogonus', the house of St. Francis of 
Rome, etc. The site a waste tract of small extent 
lying beside the seventh station of the ancient Roman 
" Vigili " is still pointed out by the more erudite 
archaeologist. The chapel stood on the part nearest 
to St. Cecilia's, and hence most distant from St. 

Some of the old buildings stood till within a few 


years, and the arms of England might be seen 
sculptured on the marble lintel over the door of what 
was once St. Edmund's. The last remains were 
pulled down about five years ago, and the arms of 
England were destroyed before they could be secured. 
A marble slab in a house facing the main street, 
and very near the station of the " Vigili," states that 
the property " belongs " to the English College, and 
thus confirms the almost forgotten tradition. 

The following inscription in the sacristy of the 
English College at Home gives the history of the 
suppression of St. Edmund's chapel, two hundred 
years after the hospice had been amalgamated with 
St. Thomas': 

Decreto S. Congregationis 

Visitationis Apostolicae 

edito die XXIX. Maii MDCLXIV. 

Oratorium S. Edmund! Regis Anglic 

Transtyberim olim positum 

suppressum fuit 

et obligatio illic celebrandi missas 

ad summum hujus templi altare translate 

aliis omnibus in pristine vigore 

juxta mentem S. Mem. 
Gregorii XIII. permanentibus. 

Over the high altar of the present church in the 
English College stands a remarkable picture of the 
Most Blessed Trinity, to whom the church was once 
dedicated, St. Thomas of Canterbury, and a saint 
vested in royal robes, who kneels in a suppliant atti- 
tude. Behind this latter saint an angel holds three 
arrows and a palm. On the ground lie a crown and 
a sceptre. The picture formerly hung in the old 
church, and, according to tradition, over its high altar. 
Donovan says (" Rome Ancient and Modern," vol. ii. 


p. 245, edit. 1844) : " Over the great altar of the 
old church stood a large painting of the Holy Trinity, 
with St. Thomas of Canterbury and St. Edward the 
Confessor kneeling beneath, executed by Durante 
Alberti of Borgo S. Sepolcro. and now " (before the 
present church was built) " to be seen in the spacious 
hall, which gives admission to the college library." 
Cardinal Wiseman ("Last Four Popes," in vita Pius VII.) 
also says that it is by Durante Alberti, and represents 
St. Edward. But do not the arrows and palm, the 
inscription in the sacristy and the union of the two 
hospices in 1463 imply that St. Edmund the Martyr 
is represented rather than St. Edward the Confessor ? 


Abbot nullius, 373, 392. 

Abbey-gate, the, 356, 400 ; Ab- 
bey court, 357. 

Abbey, St. Edmund's, 192; des- 
cription of, 355, 359 ; almonry, 
357 ; boundaries, 274, 356 ; 
central tower, 319n, 368, 370, 
401 ; dissolution, 231, 401 ; 
infirmary, 264, 323, 360, 362, 
396 ; lavatory, 362, 393 ; 
library, 361 ; memorials of, 
21, 69, 70, 102n, 270, 2/9, 160, 
349 ; refectory, 360, 396 ; see 
cloisters,dormitory, vestry, &c. 

Abbots of St. Edmund's Bury, 
375 ; list of, 385n ; their work, 
393 ; their character, 401 ; 
their jurisdiction, 373. 

Abbo, St., referred to, 21, 30, 
58n, 73, 74, 77, 89n, 96, 97, 
lOln, 113n, 114n, 124n, 126n, 
128n, 129n, 138, 139, 141, 
142n, 144n, 150, 136, 154n, 
155n, 157, 158, 159, 160, 258n, 
272, 273, 315, 331, 339, 348, 
370n ; his life of St. Edmund, 
69, 122, 310 ; his career, work, 
&c., 69 ; his antiphon on St. 
Edmund, 20, 139, 332; his 
office for St. Edmund's feast, 
331, et seq. ; on the miracles, 

" Acts " of St. Edmund, 380. 

Acre, 290. 

Adalbert, St., St. Edmund's 
brother, 25n, 27, 38. 

Adalbert, St., of Prussia, 144n. 

Adam of Bremen, 182. 

Adamnan, St., " De Locis Sanc- 
tis," 34, 41. 

Adrian, Abbot, 62. 

Adulph, Bishop, 148n, 155, 158, 
160, 380. 

/Elfgeth, the woman, 187, 189, 

./Elfric's " Homilies," 25n. 

JSlfwene, 298. 

^Ella, 5. 

Agas', Ralph, "Map of London," 
164, 169. 

Agatha, St., 237. 

Agelnoth, archbishop of Canter- 
bury, 186, 385. 

Agner, 88. 

Agricola, 3. 

Aidan, St., 109. 

Ailwin, or Egelwin, &c., 148n, 
160, 161, 172, 173, 174, 175, 
178, 179, 180, 181, 183, 188, 
191, 215, 232n, 233n, 257, 
262n, 263, 272, 280, 282, 284, 
286, 297, 308, 323, 359n, 381, 
382, 383, 360n. 

Ailwin, or Canute's Church, 
176, 186, 193, 384. 

Alans, 238. 

Alban, St., legend of, 22. 

Alban's, St., 224, 225, 226, 257, 
375, 404 ; abbot of, 392 ; 
Walter of, 218. 

Albigenses, 233, 236, 238. 

Albold, Abbot, 385n, 394, 396. 

Alcuin, 24, 54. 

Alcmund, 24, 25n ; his character, 
26, 27, 28 ; in Rome, 29, 30, 
31, 33, 37, 40, 46, 47, 48. 

Aldgate, 169. 

Aldulph, King, 15n, 16, 17. 

Alexander II., Pope, 195, 197. 
210, 257, 280, 391. 

Alexander III., Pope, 370, 

Alexandria, 44. 

Alfgar, Earl, 108, 110. 

Alfgar, Count, 37n, 159, 380. 

Alford, quoted, 23n, 47n. 


Alfred, King, 4, 52, 71, 107, 

136, 147, 148, 149. 
Alfric, 155, 
Alfrida, 18. 
Alfwena, 183. 
Alfwiu, Abbot, of Ramsey, 167, 


Alfwin, Bishop, 185, 186. 
Algar, St., Bishop, 148n, 160, 

381, 383. 
Aller, 148. 
Alnwick, bishop of Norwich, 


Alphun, bishop of Elmham, 173. 
Altars of St. Edmund at Lucca, 

258, 325 ; Bar-le-Regulier,325 ; 

high altar, 354, 370, 371, 

391n. ; of the H. Cross 370 : 

of St. John Baptist 201. 
Alster, 38. 
Ambrose, St., 31. 
America, 3. 

American Constitutions, 354. 
Amiens, 12n, 363. 
Amphibalus, St., 225. 
Analecta Anglo Saxonica, 122, 


Anderton, Sir Francis, 407. 
Andelys, 15n. 
Anger, St. Edmund's, 179, 184, 

226, 279. 

Anglia Christiana Society, lln. 
Angl eland, 4, 6. 
Angles, 86. 
Anglia, 6. 
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, sec 


Anglo-Saxon Church, 34,36n, 61. 
Anlaff, 165. 

Annales Benedictini, 37. 
Anne of Austria, 405. 
Annas, St., King, 14, Ion, 16, 

20, 61, 137. 
Anscharius, St., 98. 
Anselm, Abbot, 322, 329, 360n, 

365n, 394, 395, 396, 385n. 
Antiphons of St. Edmund, 20, 

139, 259, 320, 327, 328, 332, 

333, 335, 336, 337, 338, 339. 
" Antiquarian and Topographi- 
cal Cabinet," 353n. 
"Antiquities, &c., of Essex," 

Suckling's, 351n. 
Apostles' tombs, 28. 
Apostolatus Benedictinus, 404. 
" Architectural Antiquities, " 

Britton's, 356n. 
Archives of Saint Sernin, 229. 
Arm, St. Edmund's, see Relics. 
Arms of St. Edmund, 350. 
Arrows, see Relics. 

Arundel, Archbishop, 322, 401. 

Arrowsmith, S.J., Father, 234n 

Ashdune, 147. 

Asser, 53, 68n, 71n, 72, 97, 101 
147, 315. 

Athelstan, King, 70, 72, 155n, 
156n, 378, 380, 390. 

Attila, 31. 

Attleborough, 56, 58, 70. 

Aubierge, Audry, or Etheldreda, 
St., 15n, see Etheldreda. 

Augustine, St., 31, 63, 143n. 

Augustine's, St., Well, 27. 

Augnstinian Canons, 236. 

Australia, 3. 

Authorities, 1, 21, 35, 69, 83, 
97, 122, 132, 141, 146, 153, 
144, 154, 160, 164, 172, 176, 
187, 194, 199, 205, 216, 221, 
228, 239, 250, 255, 270, 307, 

Aventine, the, 394. 

Aylsham, 390. 

Babingley, lln. 

Bagseg, 100. 

Baker, OSB., Fr. Augustine, 

Bale, quoted, 271, 316n. 

Baltic, the, 4, 8, 86. 

Baldwin, Abbot, 191, 192, 193. 
194, 195, 196, 199, 200, 201, 
209, 257, 258, 259, 260, 270, 
280, 281, 282, 288, 295, 301, 
310, 327, 359, 363, 370, 375n, 
383n, 385n, 386, 387, 391, 394, 
395n, 396 ; his abbey, 406 ; his 
church, see churches of St. 
Edmund ; his translation, of 
St. Edmund, 191, 287 ; his 
shrine, 370. 

Bamborough Head, 6. 
Banner or Standard of St. 
Edmund, 102, 134, 264, 265, 
266, 350, 351, 387. 

Bard ney Abbey, destroyed, 110. 

Barking, the abbess of, 15n. 

Barnabas, St., 238n, 253, 255. 

Barnack, stone from, 193, 363n, 


i Barn by or Berneford, battle of, 
103, 104. 

Barfleur, 293, 295. 

Bath, the, 177, 362, 397. 

Baronius', " Annals," 12n. 

Basing, 147. 

Battely's " Antiquitates, &c., 

Sti Edmundi Burgis," referred 

to, 21, 25n, 26n, 27n, 30n, 38n, 

57n, 58n, 104n, 258n, 352, 

I 353n, 360n, 363n, 394n, 395n. 



Bateiuau, Bishop, 262, 282n. 

Battles, Barnby or Berneford, 
103,104; Bouvines,223 ; Coles- 
hill, 304; of St. Edmund'sStan- 
dard, see Fornham ; Ellaii- 
dune, 36 ; Hatfield Chase, 14 ; 
Thetford, 119, 120, 149a ; 
Winwoed, 16. 

Beachy Head, 5, 6. 

Beccle's, 280. 

Becket : s crown, 234. 

" Bedse Anecdota," 218n. 

Bede's St., Eccl. : Hist.: &c., 
referred to, 1, 10, 12, Ion, 21, 
24, 34, 54, 59, 61n, 63n, 78, 
109, 163n, 272, 273u. 

Bells in churches, 62 ; at St. 
Edmund's Bury, 326. 

Bell's " Gazetteer of England 
and Wales," I. 

Benedict, St. , 161 , 162, 225n, 232n. 

Benedictines The English, lln, 
275, 404, 407, 408, 409n, 410 ; 
their breviary, 29n, 182n, 339; 
their fraternity, 232n, 321 ; 
their induction to St. Ed- 
mund's Bury, 185, 375, 382, 
384 ; at Norwich, 195n, 324 ; 
their presidents, 373n, 401, 
404 ; their rule, 12n, 410. 

Bennet, St., Biscop's, monas- 
teries, 109. 

Beodric, Etheling, 151, 178, 358. 

Beodricsworth, or St. Edmund's 
Bury, 59n, 69, 70, 146, 150, 
152, 286, 273, 274, 323 ; origin 
of 376, 377, 380, 381. 

Bericus, 376. 

Bern or Wern, 88n, 92, 93, 94, 
95, 96, 100, 104, 131. 

Bernard, St., 237. 

Berneford, battle of, 103, 104. 

Bernham, Abbot, 231n, 232n, 

Bernicia, kingdom of, 6. 

Bernred, king of East Anglia, 18. 

Bernulf, king of Mercia, 36. 

Berwick-on-Tweed, 101. 

Bethania, 43. 

Bethlehem, 43. 

Bethsaida, 297. 

Beuno, St., 153n. 

Bevis- Marks or Buiy Marks, 

Bible, 62. 

Billingsgate, 267. 

Binneham, 287. 

Bishops of East Anglia, 17n, 
55n ; their position, 55, 148n, 
160, 161 ; at Thetford, 193n ; 
at Norwich, 195n. 

Bishop Waltham, 206. 

Blessed Sacrament, 327 ; cup for, 
320, 391 ; procession of, 248, 

Blomefield's "Hist, of Thet- 
ford " referred to, 1, 17n, 89, 
94, 95, 96, 97, 104n, 195u, 262. 

Blyth, 325u. 

Blythburgh, 12n. 16. 

Boadicea, 2. 

Boccaccio's nine books, 22. 

Bocader, 97, 98. 

Bodleian compilation, 21, 284, 

Body of St. Edmund, 13 ; decay 
of, 234n ; at Toulouse, 228 ; 
et seq., 241, 245 ; present rest- 
ing place, 250, 351 ; transla- 
tions and verifications of, vide 

Bokenham, Edmund, 361n. 

Bollandistes Petits, referred to, 
34n, 45n. 

Bollandists, the, 143n. 

Bones of St. Edmund, see Relics. 

Boniface, St., 22. 

Boniface, Archbishop, 393. 

Boniface, bishop of East Anglia, 

Book of Miracles, 270. 

Bordeaux, " 1'Eglise Metropoli- 
taine de," 255. 

Bordeaux, relic of St. Edmund, 

Borrough's, Sir James, "History 
of Bury," 352. 

Boston of Bury, 376ii. 

Bossuet at St. Edmund's, Paris, 

Botilda, 36, 37n. 

Botulph, St., 16n, 26, 302 ; altar, 
372 ; feast of, 203 ; guild of, 
367 ; keeper of, 220 ; shrine of, 
197, 327, 386, 371. 

Bouvines, battle of, 223. 

Braintree, 175, 323. 

Brakelond, 205. 

Brancaster, 33. 

Breviary, Benedictine, 29n, 
182n, 339 ; of Clare College, 
342, 347 ; Roman, 123n ; 
Sarum, 339 ; York, 339. 

Brice, St., massacre of, 166, 177. 

Brictiva, 25n, 28n, 288, 289. 

Bridge, Abbot's, 353, 358, 400. 

Bridges, Melford andCarford, 120. 

Britain, 22 ; North, 6 ; South, 6. 

Britain under the Romans, 3. 

Brittany, 6. 

Bromh'eld, Edmund, Abbot, 
376n, 385n. 



Brompton, John, sec Chronicles 

and Chroniclers. 
Brown, bishop of Norwich, 324. 
Brandish, Prior, 328. 
Brunstan, 298, 370. 
Bures, 58, 113n. 
Burgh Castle, 12n. 
Burgundy, St. Sigebert in, 10, 


Burkham, 49n. 
Burne, 59n. 
Burrhed, king of Mercia, 100, 


Burwell Church, Cambs., 377n. 
Bury, Modern, 161, 181n, 322, 

349, 350, 352 ; meaning of, 377. 
Bury St. Edmund's (Villa 

Faustini), 3, 376. 
Bury Wills, &c., 233n. 
Butler's "Lives of Saints," 

referred to, lOn, 15u, 34n, 45n, 

54n, 70, 79, 87n, 98u, 142n, 

153n, 156n, 164, 262, 279. 

Caen, 386. 

Czesar, 2. 

Caistor, 3 ; St. Edmund's, 91, 


Caledonia, 4. 
Callixtus II., Pope, 392. 
Callixtus III., Pope, 893. 
Cam, R., 1, 11. 
Cambridge, 1, 69, 278, 311, 325n, 

353, 384. 
Camden's "Britannia," &c., 

quoted, 1, 49n, 58n, 97, 141, 

185, 291, 402. 
Camisia or camisium of St. 

Edmund, 127n, 189, 213, 256, 

257, 261, 329. 
Canons of St. Edmund, 155, 160, 

185, 272, 378, 381, 383. 
Canons of Saint Sernin, 236, 237. 
Canterbury, 9, 11, 69, 99, 375. 
Canute, St., of Denmark, 136. 
Canute, King, In, 176, 184, 185, 

186, 280, 282, 317, 382, 383, 
384, 390, 403 ; his church, 176, 
186, 193, 384. 

Capgrave, referred to, 36n, 49n, 

179n, 316, 349. 
Capharnaum, 43, 44. 
Carford and Melford Bridges, 

Carlyle's "Past and Present," 

quoted, &c.,102n, 135,205,219, 

234n, 275u, 303, 349, 355n, 377. 
Carucagium, the, 184, 186, 381, 

382, 385. 
Carucate, 184n. 
Castle-Hill, Thetford, 113. 

Castor and Simphorian, SS.. 

228, 239, 245, 248, 253. 
Caseneuve, Pierre de, his Life of 

St. Edmund, described, &c. , 

83, 176, 221, 228n, 248n. 
Catherine, St), feast of, 219n, 


Catherine, St., of Bologna, 234n. 
Catherine, St., of Sienna, 332n. 
Catherine, Queen, 402. 
Cemetery, the brethren's, 362, 

Cemetery or great church-yard 

of St. Edmund, 364. 
Cenimagni, 2. 

Cenulf, king of Mercia, 35, 36. 
Ceonred, king and monk, I5n. 
Cerdic, 5, 8. 
Cerne Abbey, 27. 
" Chamberlain," Ailwin, St. 

Edmund's, 178. 
Chapels of St. Andrew, 323, 364, 

371, 396 ; of St. Anne, 372 ; 

of St. Botulph, 372; of St. 

Catharine, 369 ; of St. Faith, 

V.M., 369, 395 ; of the 

Charnel, 364, 366, 367n, 400 ; 

chapels of St. Edmund, 324 ; 

at Chichester, 325 ; at Douai, 

325n ; at Hunstanton, 51, 349 ; 

at Hoxne, 324, 350 ; at Lynn, 

291 ; at Tewkesbury, 325, 350; 

at Wainflete, 291 ; chapel of 

St. Giles, 396 ; of St. John 

ad Montem, 364 ; of Holy 

Name, 367 ; of Our Lady, 

367, 371, 400 ; of St. Laurence, 

357, 372 ; of St. Martin, 395 ; 

of St. Mary in Cryptis, 378 ; 

of St. Michael, 360, 395 ; 

of the Relics, 257, 261, 262n, 

Chapel, old round, 186, 191, 197, 

385, 400. 

Chapels at the gates, 373. 
Chapter House, 361, 362, 396. 
Charlemagne, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35, 

38, 40, 136. 
Charlemagne and England, 23, 

24, 25, 26, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35, 

38, 40, 85, 136. 
Charlemagne and Samt-Sernin, 

236, 237, 238, 253, 254. 
Charles I., 393, 405. 
Charles de Montchal, archbishop 

of Toulouse, 235n, 240. 
Charles, the Pretender, 408. 
Charmouth, 99. 
Chartres, 295. 
Chaucer, 21, 314. 
Cheapside, 169n. 



Chelles, monastery of, 15n. 

Chelmsford, 175, 278. 

Cheltenham, 325n. 

Chester, 3. 

Chertsey Abbey, 15n. 

Chevalier St. George, 408. 

Chichester, 290, 296. 

Chichester, Robert of, 301. 

Chipping Ongar, 175. 

Christian Hills, lln. 

Christmas Day, 130n ; in Anglo- 
Saxon church, 59, 60, 66, 68, 

Christopher, St., 237, 253. 

Chronicles and Chroniclers, 
quoted, &c., 272 ; Anglo- 
Saxon, 1, 2n, 97, lOOn, 197n, 
283n ; Asser, 68n, 71, 72n ; 
Durham, 311 ; Ely, 11, 21, 23, 
54n, 73n, 77n, 97 ; English 
on Sweyn's death, 176, 181, 
182; Ethel werd, 1, 36, 72, 97, 
147n, ; Florence of Worces- 
ter, 71, 79 X 176, 181n, 283n ; 
( rervas de Diceto, 304n ; 
Gloucester, 311 ; Henry of 
Huntingdon, 16n, 21, 104n, 
182 ; Ingulph of Croyland, 
39, 51n, 71, 97, 108, 311 ; 
Jocelin, 205, 209, 211, 219, 
220n, 222n, 234n, 235, 303, 
318, 336, 350n, 359n, 376n, 391, 
397, 399; John Brompton, 
34u, 57n ; John Walliugford, 
21, 25n, 27n ; Matthew of 
Paris, 221, 225, 230n ; 
Matthew of Westminster, 2n, 
lOn, 21, 58, 72, 78, 83, 87n, 
92n. 97, 112, 122, 124n, 128n, 
141, 176, 185, 257, 270, 31 In, 
316, 339 ; Norwich, 21 ; Orde- 
ricus Vitalis, 176, 301 ; Poly- 
dorus Vergil, 83, 89n, 106, 
316 ; Peterborough, 97, 197n, 
311; Ralph Higden, 176; 
Ramsey, 97, 197n ; Richard 
of Cirencester, 75, 83, 97, 122, 
160, 175, 189, 190n, 233n, 
316 ; Roger of Hovedon, 45n, 
71, 176 ; Roger of Wendover, 
51n, 58n, 73n, 78, 84, 221, 
225, 227, 230, 316 ; Simeon of 
Durham, 21, 71, 74, 155, 314, 
316n ; William of Croyland, 
39, 71 ; William of Malmes- 
bury, 1, 2, 8, 17n, 70, 71, 76, 
97, 100, 130n, 137, 141, 150, 
152, 154, 156, 157, 176, 179, 
180n, 190n, 234n, 272, 273, 311, 
315, 317, 339, 355. 
Chronological notes, O.S.B., 352, 

Church of East Anglians, 61, 

62 ; St. Benet's, Cambs., 193n ; 

St. James', 262, 326, 349, 356 

360, 363n, 367, 368, 383n, 

395 ; St. Denis', 383n, 395 ; St. 

Margaret's, 326, 365, 396 ; St. 

Mary's, 326, 349, 351, 356, 364; 

old St. Mary's,. 376, 394n, 396 ; 

St. Michael's, Oxford, 193n ; 

Merton, 349; Worlingworth, 

Churches of St. Edmund, 309, 

324 ; the wooden church, 285. 
Canute, or Ailwin's, 176, 186. 
193, 384 ; Baldwin's great 
church, 193, 285, 320, 354, 
362, 363, 368, 369n, 385, 387, 
394, 402 ; at Damietta, 325 ; 
in London, 267, 325 ; at South- 
wold, 324 ; at Noithampton, 
290, 325 ; at Dunwich, 325 ; 
at Dereham, 325 ; at Rome, 

325 and appendix ; at Paris, 
406, 407, 408, 409. 

Church of St. Edmund, lighting 

of, 326, 328. 
Church and Monastery of Our 

Lady and St. Edmund, 152. 
Cirencester, council of, 185. 
Clare, 175, 289. 
Clare College, breviary of, 191, 

342, 347. 

Claudius, Emp., 376. 
Claudius and Nicostratus, SS. , 

228, 239, 243, 245, 248. 
Clermont-Tonnerre, Cardinal de, 


Cleveland, Duchess of, 407. 
Clock, Water, 212. 
Cloisters, 329, 360, 362, 371 ; of 

the infirmary, 362. 
Cluniacs of Tlietford, 268. 
Cnobbersburg, 12. 
Coffin, St. Edmund's, see Relics. 
Coinred, king of Mercia, 28. 
Coinwalch, king of Wessex, 14. 
Colchester, 168 ; abbey of, 278 ; 

William of, 287. 
Coldingham Abbey, 108. 
Coleshill, battle of, 304. 
College, St. Edmund's, at Cam- 
bridge, 384. 

Cologne Cathedral, 22, 193, 363. 
Columba, St., 41. 
Columbanus, St., 28, 29n. 
Constantine, Pope, 35. 
Constantine, Emp., 136, 254. 
Constantinople, 43. 
Cook Row, 234n, 317. 
Copeland (York), 296. 
Copenhagen, 69, 310, 331. 



Corbeuil, archbishop of Canter- 
bury, 395. 
Cormin Abbey. 27. 
Cornwall, 99. 

Coronation, St. Edmund's, 34. 
Cortina, the, 298. 
Count de la Perche, 225, 227. 
Count of the Saxon Shore, 3. 
Craik, Prof, on Lydgate, 21. 
" Crankle?," the, 359. 
Cnitfield, Abbot, 232n, 3S5n, 

Cressy, O.S.B., Doni, quoted, 

37n, 70, 122, 179n, 279n. 
Crete, 44. 

Cromwell, 205, 257, 402. 
Crowns ottered to St. Edmund, 

274, 387. 
Crowns, St. Edmund's three, 

134, 264. 
Croyland Abbey, 78 ; its charter, 

108 ; its destruction, 111 ; 

Theodore, its abbot, 110. 
Crosses, the four, 389, 392. 
Crypt of Saint-Sernin, 238, 239, 

242, 252, 254 ; of St. Edmund's 

abbey, 261, 329, 371. 
Cumeneas, abbot of lona, 62. 
Cup, St. Edmund's, see Relics. 
Curteys, Abbot, 22, 83, 160, 232n, 

233n, 318, 319n, 322, 362, 382, 

384n, 385n ; his register, 97, 

146, 318, 401. 

Cuthbert, St., 109, 155, 193, 196n, 
21n, 229, 234n, 235n, 267, 316, 

Cyprian, St., on Rome, 28. 

Damascus, 4. 

Damietta, St. Edmund's church 

at, 325. 

Dane, the irreverent, 171, 282. 
Danes or Norsemen, 36, 57, 71, 

72, 85, 86, 87, 105n, 107, 146, 

147, 148, 168, 172. 255, 307, 

Danish English, 150. 

Dante, 12. 

Dart, R, 99. 

David Chytroeus', "Saxonia," 


David's gate, 41 ; psalms, 133. 
Dead Sea, 43. 
Deerhurst, Priory of, Gloucester, 


De Fiat, Monseigneur, 241, 247. 
Deira, kingdom of, 6. 
Denis, Brother, 207. 
Denis Piramus' French Poem, 

22, 307, 316. 
Denis', St.. Paris, 237. 

Denmark and the Danes, 85, 86, 

97, 98, 101, 171, 181, 182. 
Deorman, 295. 

Dereham Abbey, 15n. 16, 325. 
Derneford for Berneford, 104n, 
Desprez, Cardinal, 256. 
Device of St. Edmund's Abbey, 


Dykes or ditch s, the, 2, 112. 
Devotion to St. Edmund, 183, 

307, 330, 

Dicuil, &c., Irish priests, 12n. 
Dieulouard, 404. 
Dijon, 32,1 ; relic at, 256, 
Diss, John of, 218 ; William of, 


Ditmar on Sweyn's death, 182. 
Doomsday Survey, 195n, 390. 
Dominic, St., 28,' 237. 
Dormitory, 360, 396 ; Dortory, 


Dorchester, 98. 
Dorsetshire, 27- 
Douai, 404 ; its library, 83 ; 

" Etablissements, &c. de," 

352 ; St. Edmund's at, 256, 

325 , 410, 411. 
" Dovecote," the, 358. 
Downside Review, 352. 
Dunstan, St., 69, 70, 122, 141, 

165, 310. 

Dunstable, French at, 225. 
Dunwich, 11, 17, 18n, 264, 294, 


"Duodeni," the, 383n. 
Durham, 193, 196n, 234n, 235n, 

316, 402. 

Eadbright, the priest, 167, 282. 

Ealhstan, bishop of Sherbourne, 

Earpwald, St., lOn. 

Earcongota, St., H5. 

East Angles, or Anglians, 6, 7, 
8, lln, 60,68,78, 84, 176,185, 
186, 296. 

East Anglia, 1, 2, 8, lln, 19, 38, 
55, 58, 61, 71, 72, 73, 84, 86, 
89, 92, 97, 99, 100, 101, 107, 
110, 112, 113, 115, 122, 123, 
147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 153, 
154, 164, 165, 173, 308, 310; 
arms of, 34 ; bishops of, 17n, 
55, 148n, 160, 161 ; description 
of, 7 ; formation of, 6 ; king- 
ship of, 8. 

East Britain, 1. 

East England, 12. 

Easter, 59 ; Roman observance 
of, 12n. 

Ebba, St., 109. 



Edberg.i, abbess of ilepton, 15n. 

Edmund, St., his kingdom, 1, 
3, 4 ; his ancestry, &c. , 9. 20, 
30 ; parentage and birth, 21, 
et seq. ; his father, 24, 25, 
26 ; his mother, 26, 32 ; a 
child of promise, 23 ; his 
name, 30 ; his education, 30 ; 
love of the Holy Name, 32, 
128, 133 ; adoption by King 
OH'a, 39 ; expedition to Eng 
land, 47 ; at Hunstanton, 48; 
at Ethelwulph's court, 51 ; 
his relations to Alfred, 52, 71, 
136 ; studies the psalter, 53 ; 
his principles, 53 ; acknow- 
ledged king, 53, 56, 5", 58 ; 
resem hies other saints, 54, 75, 
103, 108, 119, 131, 136, 138,310; 
his friendship for St. Hum- 
bert, 56 ; coronation, &c., 58, 
et seq. ; character and rule, 
69 ; age at accession, 70 ; his 
independence, 71 ; connection 
with the Danes, 71, 83 to 97 ; 
struggle with the Norsemen, 
97 to 121 ; at Nottingham, 
107, 108 ; his passion, 122 ; 
fable of, 125n ; his love of the 
H. Trinity, 128 ; last prayer, 
129n ; " Kynge, Martyre and 
Virgyne," 132 to 140 ; his 
three crowns, 134, 264 ; the 
"Flos Martyrum," 136; his 
head found, see head ; sermons 
on, 197, 198, 240, 247, 249 ; office 
of, 32, 221, 332, et seq. ; visions 
of, 178, 180, 23 In, 260, 262, 294, 
296 ; miracles of, 207 to 306 ; 
his tomb at Toulouse, 239, 
240, 250, 255 ; devotion to, 
307 ; his personality, 307 ; 
epics on, 312 ; patrimony of, 
226, 309, 352, et seq. ; called 
" Father Edmund," 163, 164, 
137, 178, 188, 201 ; " Land- 
lord Edmund," 135 ; fear of, 
184, 226, 274, 471 ; Portraits 
of, 349, 362n ; see Altar ; 
Anger ; Antiphons ; Arms ; 
Body ; Canons of ; Chapels ; 
Churches ; Feast ; Incorrup- 
tion ; " Lives" ; Translations. 

Edmund's, St., Bury, 13, 21, 26, 
278, 280, 323, 329n, 352, 353, 
377, 387, 388, 393, 402, 404, 
411 ; proposed sale 406. 

Edmund's, St., Douai, 269, 410, 

Edmund's, St., Paris, 404, et 

Edmund's, St., Point or Head, 

49, 349 ; springs, 49, 50, 51, 

285, .)49 ; ditch or dyke, 2 ; 

see Abbey, Shrine, Patrimony 

franchise, or liberty. 
" Edimmdi, Sti., de Infantia," 

by Gaufridus, 21. 
Edmund I., Abbot, 385n. 
Edmund II., Abbot, 385n. 
Kdmiind I., King, 76, 165, 380, 

382, 393. 
Edmund de Brundish, Prior, 


Edmnnd-iton, 377. 
Edgar, King, 165, 380. 
Ed red, King, 165. 
Edwald, St., 27. 
Edward the Elder, 2n, 150, 165. 
Edward, St., the Confessor, 

123n, 136, 187, 192, 283, 297, 

316n, 317, 359, 372, 387, 38!), 

390, 403. 
Edward I., 233n, 285, 318, 387, 


Edward II., 233n, 388. 
Edward III., 233n, 361n, 400. 
Edward IV., 22, 315. 
Edward, St., the Martyr, 137, 


Edwin, Brother, 261, 262. 
Edwin of Northumbria, 10, 14, 


Edwy, King, 165, 380. 
Egbert, archbisop of York, 63n, 

67n ; his pontifical, 34. 
Egbert, king of Wessex, 35, 36, 

71, 72, 85, 99, 100. 
Egbright, king of Kent, 17. 
Edfrid, king of Northumbria, 15. 
Eglisdone, HeglesduneorHoxne, 


Egric, King, 14, 16. 
Kill mi i id, 155. 
Elbe, 4, 22, 30, 38. 
Eleanor, Queen, 221, 233u, 390, 


Elfwold, King, 18. 
Ely, 15, 17, 23, 111, 112, 123. 

161, 226n, 297n, 350, 368, 399. 
Elizabeth, Queen, 318n, 403. 
Ella, King, 91, 97, 107. 
Ellandune, battle of, 36. 
Elmham, North, 17, 18n, 150, 

280, 383. 

Elmswell, 318, 380. 
Elphege, St., 172, 173, 234n, 

Elsinus or Elfinus, abbot of 

Hulme, 383. 

Emma, Queen, 185, 384 ; En- 
comium of, 182. 



Ems, 22. 

English kingdoms, formation of, 


Eni, 14. 
Eorpenwald, St., or Eorpwald, 

Eorpwald, St., the Martyr, 10, 

14, 20, 61, 76, 137. 
Eowils, 100. 

Epics on St, Edmund, 312. 
Erasmus 22 In. 
Erconbert, King of kent, 15. 
Erconwald, St., 15n, 37n. 
Eric, last king of East Anglia, 


Eric II., of Denmark, 98. 
Ermenilda, St., 15. 
Essex, 5, 7, 58, 72, 165, 167. 
Ethelbald, King, 52. 
EthelbergaSt., 15,20, 37n, 163n, 
Ethelbert, St., king of Kent, 9. 
Ethelbert, king of Wessex, 52, 

Ethelbert, St., the Martyr, 18, 

19, 20, 22, 24, 25n, 34, 35, 36, 

61, 137. 
Etheldreda, St., Audry or 

Aubierge, 15, 17, 18u, 20, 

112, 234, 290, 296, 297 n ; her 

hand, 235n, 212. 
Ethelfrid of Northumbria, 10. 
Rthelhere, king of East Anglia, 

Ethelmund, king of S. Saxons, 

Ethelred, king of East Anglia, 

18, 25n. 
Ethelred the Unready, 160, 

165, 172. 
Etheklred, king of Wessex, 70, 

100, 107, 147, 155, 177, 178. 
Ethelwald, the Rebel, 2n, 150. 
Ethelward, king of East Anglia, 

Ethelwulph. king of Wessex, 

51, 99, 100 ; his court at Win- 
chester, 51, 56, 70, 72, 73, 78. 
Eustace, Prince, 278, 387, 403, 
Eversden, O.S.B. John, 376n, 
Evesham, 290. 
Exining, or Exning, 297n. 
Exuperus, St., 236, 238, 253, 


"Exuviae Sti. Edmundi," 259. 
Eyre, John, 318, 359n, 403. 

Failles, de la, " Annales, &c.," 


Faramoutier, 15. 
Faubourg-St.- Jacques, Paris, 

404, 409n. 

Fansurse, 330. 

Feasts of St. Edmund, 214, 
222, 223, 233n, 244, 247, 
249, 257, 317, 326, 354; at 
Lucca, 259, 330 ; in England 
and France, 330, 331 ; office 
for, 332, et seq ; mass of, 346 ; 
sequence 330, 347 ; prefaces, 
348 ; lessons for 334, 339, 342 ; 
feasts of St. Edmund's trans- 
lation, 201, 330. 

Felix, St., apostle of East 
Anglia, 10,11, 14, 17n, 31, 40, 

Felixton, lln. 

Felixtowe, lln. 

Fenwick, O.S.B., Dom Francis, 

Ftscamp Abbey, 195n, 331. 

Ferdinand, St., of Castille, 136. 

Fernby, or Fernheatb, 20. 

Feversham, 279. 

Fire, great, at St. Edmund's 
Bury, 396. 

Firrninus, St., or Jurnnnus, 16, 
197, 302n, 327, 371, 386. 

Fitzwalter, 355. 

Flavia Csesariensis, 3. 

Flegg, 180n, 184. 

Flitcham, lln. 

Flixton, lln. 

Foilan, St., 12n. 

Fornham - St. - Genevieve, 266, 
267, 297, 387. 

Fornham- Parva, 380. 

Framlingham Castle, 105, 106, 

Franchise, St. Edmund's, 319, 
389 ; see Patrimony. 

Francis, St., of Assisium, 21. 

Francis, St., of Sales, 409. 

Francis, St., of Paula, 254. 

Francis, St., Xavier, 234n. 

Frankenwoerde, 25n, 28n. 

Franklin, Benjamin, 410. 

Fraternity, Benedictine, 232n, 

French Revolution, 408, 409n, 

Fremund, St., 36, 37n. 

Frideswide, St., 53, 156n. 

Friesland, 4. 

Frith of Forth, 6. 

Frithestan, Bishop, 235n. 

Froheins, (Fursei Doinus), 12n. 

Fursey, St., 12, 13, 14. 

Gainsborough, 179, 264. 
Gale's " Hist. Brit. Saxon. 

Scriptores," 25n, 34n. 
Galilee, 43, 44. 



Garments of St. Edmund, 158, 

257, 261, 268. 
Gascoigne, O.S.B., Dom Placid, 


Gates, bronze the, 396. 
Gateway, the abbey, 356, 400 ; 

the Norman. 209, 319, 363, 

Gaufridus de Fontibus, " De 

Infantia Sti Edmundi," 21, 

25n, 28n, 33n, 34, 35, 37n, j 

49n, 50, 58, 59n, 83, 88n, lOOn, j 

272, 315. 

Geoffrey Kufus, 220n. 
Geoffrey Ridel, 210. 
Geoffrey, or Godefridus, the 

Sacrist, 360, 394, 397. 
George, St., 237, 253. 
Georgii, Sti, Brachium, 45. 
Genoa, 30, 40. 
George III., 35. 
Gerald Cambrensis quoted, 271, 


Germain-en-Laye, St. , 408, 409n. 
Germanus, St., of Auxerre, 10. 
Gerwin, Abbot, 259. 
Geyneburuh, or Gainsborough, 

Giffard, O.S.B., archbishop of 

Kheiius, 405. 
Gifts of kings and queens to St. 

Edmund, 388. 
Gilbert, St., 227, 235, 237, 238n. 

253, 254. 

Gilbert of Cereville, 303, 304. 
Gildas, St., 6. 

Giles' "Anecdota Bed;e," 2l8u. 
Giles, St., 253, 254, 293. 
Gilliugwater's "Histor : Account 

of Bury," 22, 167n, 174, 191n, I 


Glastonbury, 404. 
Gloria in excelsis, 330. 
Gloucester, 5. 

Gloucester Hall, Oxford, 401 n. 
Gloucester, Humphrey Duke 

of, 321, 322, 360n, 388. 
Gloucester, Richard Earl of, 393. 
GobbanandDicuil, Irish priests, 


Goceliu, Sub-Prior, 21. 
Godefridus de Fontibus, 21. 
( Joderic, king of Denmark, 98. 
Godwin, "De Prassulibus, " 159n. 
Golden Brook, fable of, 125n, 


Golgotha, church of, 41. 
Gosford, Prior John of, 360n, 

361n, 362n, 399. 
Gotha, 69, 310. 
Gothafrid, 88. 

Gothruii, or Athelstau, 52, 100, 
141, 148, 149, 150. 

Green's ' ' Short History of the 
English People," 1, 35, 184n, 

Greenstead, 175, 351. 

Greenwich, 172. 

Gregorian Calendar, 405. 

Gregory, St., the Great, Pope, 
5, 9, 60, 160, 164, 254; his 
church near St. Paul's, 164, 
169, 170, 172, 282, 286. 

Gregory IX., Pope, 392. 

Guest-house, 357. 

Guests, reception of, 356u. 

Guild of H. Name, 400. 

Guthlac, St., Ion, 107. 

Hackness Abbey, 15n. 

Hair, St. Edmund's, see Relics. 

Halfsden, 100. 

Hamund, 100. 

Hardacnut, 283u. 

Hardwick House, 349. 

Hardy's "Materials," referred 

to, 83, 191, 270, 331. 
Harleian Catalogue, 22. 
Harold Blodrand, 182. 
Harpsfeld's, Nicholas, History, 

1, 37n, 316, 384n. 
Harrings Heath, 380. 
Harvey, or Hervey, the Sacrist, 


Hastings, 149, 194. 
Hatlield-Broad-Oak, 351. 
Hatfield Chase, battle of, 14. 
Haut-et-cler bell, 326. 
Head, St. Edmund's, the finding 

of, 131, 141, 142, 153n, 248, 

243n, 254, 273. 
Hearn, 58n. 
Heacham, 49n. 
Heglesdune, or Hoxue, 93n, 94, 

95n, 113n, 114, 115, 121, 122, 

123, 125, 131, 141, 144n, 145, 

149, 150, 151, 158, 160, 232 u, 

234, 268, 269n, 324, 378, 350, 


Helen, St., 42. 
Hellespont, 45, 46. 
Helyas the Sacrist, 360n, 362u, 


llongist and Horsa, 5, 8. 
Henrietta of England, 406. 
Henry I., Abbot, 385n. 
Henry I., King, 289, 295, 318, 

358n, 360n, 390, 397. 
Henry II., Abbot, 385. 
Henry II., King, 206, 266, 277n, 

297, 303, 304, 318, 361n, 387, 

389, 390, 399. 


Henry III., King, 11, 22, 35, 

224, 233n, 312, 387, 391. 
Henry VI., King, 22, 232n, 
234n, 255, 315, 388, 391 ; his 
pilgrimage, 318, 319, 320, 321, 
322, 350, 352. 
Henry VII., King, 318, 388. 
Henry VIIL, 22, 205, 220n, 318, 

366, 371n, 375, 393, 401. 
Henry of Essex, 270, 303. 
Herbert of Losinga, bishop of 
Norwich, 184, 195, 382, 387. 

Herebryht, Earldorman, 99. 

Hercules' Pillars, 87. 

Hereford, 19, 20, 290. 

Hereswide, 15. 

Hereward, 202. 

Herfast, or Arfast, bishop of 
Norwich, 149n, 193, 257, 270, 
277n ; his punishment, 279- 
282, 296, 387. 

Herman, or Hermannus, O.S.B. , 
archdeacon of Norwich, De 
Miraculis Sti Edmundi, 
quoted, &c., 21, 69, 153n, 
155n, 160, 161, 163, 167n, 
173n, 176, 180, 181n, 183, 191, 
196n, 197, 198n, 199n, 255, 
257, 260, 270, 271, 272, 277, 
280, 282n, 283, 291, 300, 308, 
310, 312, 315, 316n, 370. 

Herman of Binneham, 287. 

Herman, the Monk, 161, 262. 

Hertford, council of, 17, 18n. 

Hervey, Lord Francis, 221. 

Hervey, the Sacrist, see Harvey. 

Hilary, St., 253, 254, 238n. 

Hilda, St., 15, 109. 

Hingham, llichard of, 218. 

Hinguar, or Inguar, 52, 88, 89, 
95, 97, 98, 100, 101, 102, 105, 
106, 107, 110, 111, 112, 114, 
115, 117, 124, 125, 126, 127, 
130, 131, 141, 147, 161n, 333, 
335, 340, 341. 

Holinshed, 141, 221. 

Holland, 27. 

Holy Cross, altar of, 370 ; relic 
of, 173, 189, 402. 

Holy Face of Lucca, 258, 371, 395. 

Holy Land, 38, 40, 41. 

Holy Name, 133, 136 ; guild of, 

Holy Sepulchre, 41. 

Holy Thorn, relic of, 244, 253, 

Holy Trinity, 133, 136. 

Holy Water, 196 ; Bell, 326. 

Honoratus, St., 238n, 254. 

Honorius, St., archbishop of 
Canterbury, 11. 

Horig, 88. 

Horning, 161n. 

Hosten, 100. 

Hospitals, 367. 

Hoxne, see Heglesdune. 

Hubba, 52, 88, 89, 95, 27, 98, 

100, 101, 110, 111, 112, 123 

125, 131, 141, 147, 148, 161u. 
Hubert, archbishop of Canter- 
bury, 219, 222. 
Hugh, or Hugo, I., Abbot, 205, 

206, 2lOn, 267, 277, 302n. 

Hugh II., 350, 361n, 376n, 385n, 

392, 397, 399. 

Hugh, Brother, 319, 362, 396. 
Hugh de Montfort, 281. 
Hugh, or Hugo, the Sacrist. 216, 

357n, 360, 361, 398. 
Hulnie, or Holme, Abbey, 161, 

162, 184, 185, 187, 188, 383 ; 

its abbot, 373n. 
Humber, K., 6, 10, 177. 
Humbert, St., bishop of Elrn- 

ham, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 60, 

65, 70, 75, 85, 116, 117, 119, 

123, 124, 125, 127, 130, 14Sn, 

Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, 

321, 322, 360n, 388. 
Hunstanton, 48, 50, 51, u5, 70, 

100, 285, 291, 348, 349. 
Hymns to St. Edmund, 329, 

331, 343 to 346. 

Iceni, 2, 3, 6, 90. 

Ickborough, 2. 

Ickworth, or Ixworth, 2, 381. 

Ida, 6. 
: Iken, 2. 

\ Ikenild Street, 2, 3. 
j Ikensworth, 2. 

Ina, 28, 71 ; his hospice in 
Home, 29. 

Incense in Anglo-Saxon church, 

Incorruption of St. Edmund's 
Body, 141, 152, 153, 154, 158, 
160, 187 to 191, 199 to 204, 
216 to 221 ; its cessation, 
234n ; witnesses of, 141, 152 ; 
(1) Oswene, 153; (2) Theodred 
II., 154 ; (3) the youth Leof- 
stan, 158 ; (4) Ail win, 160 to 
164, 166, 167, 168 ; (5) Abbot 
Leofstan, 187 to 191 ; (6) 
Tolinus the Sacrist, 199 to 
204 ; (7) Abbot Samson, 216 
to 221, 234n. 

Indulgences, 198, 199, 263, 324, 
331, 401. 



Infirmary, the, 264, 323, 360, 
362, 396. 

Inguar, sec Hinguar. 

Ingulph of Croyland, see Chroni- 
cles and Chroniclers. 

Innocent II., Pope, 293, 316n. 

Innocent III., Pope, 222. 

Innocent IV. , Pope, 39)5. 

Interdict, 222, 223, 392. 

Introit, 330. 

lona, 234n ; Cumeneas, abbot of, 

Ipswich, 165, 166. 

Ireland, 12n. 

' Irish Saints in Great Britain," 
Cardinal Moran's, 12n. 

Isaac, 28. 

Isaac, king of Cyprus, 390. 

Isabella, Queen, 388. 

Iter of Antoninus, 376. 

Jack Straw, 388. 

James' St. , Church, ace Churches. 

James, St., the (Jivater, 238n, 

253, 254. 

James, St., the Less, 238n, 253, 

254, 395. 

James II., King, 404, 406, 408, 

Jarrow monastery, 61, 109. 

Jericho, 43. 

Jerusalem, 28, 41 ; pilgrimage 
to 37, 45, 294. 

Jesuits at Bury, 269, 350, 358n. 

Jesus College, St. Edmund's 
Bury, 400. 

Jews, 208, 397, 398. 

Jocelyn of Brakelond described, 
205 ; quoted, &c. , see Chroni- 
cles and Chroniclers. 

Jocell the Cellarer, 218. 

John, King, 208, 221, 222, 223, 
224, 226, 229n, 230n, 318, 320, 
354, 387, 389, 391, 399. 

John I., of \orthwold, Abbot, 
3fi<5, :Hii), :i75n, 385n, 400. 

John II., Abbot, 385n. 

John III., Abbot, 385n. 

John IV., Abbot, 386n. 

John, St., of Prague, 234n. 

Johnson, Dr., at St. Edmund's, 
Paris, 410. 

Joppa, 41, 43. 

Jordan, 43. 

Josaphat, valley of, 42. 

Joseph, St., tomb of, 42. 

Judas Maccabu'us, 119, 310. 

Jude, St., 238n, 253, 254. 

Judith, 23. 

Jutes, 4, 5. 

Jutland, 4. 

Keepers or guardians of the 

shrine, see Shrine. 
Kenelm, 155. 

Kent, 5, 8, 10, 23,24, 72, 165, 177. 
Kesteven, 110. 
Kettering, 290. 
Kingston, 377. 
Knight's "Old England," 175, 

220n, 350n, 351n, 353n, 360n. 
Krauzius, Albert, 182. 
Kynwith Castle, 148. 
Kyrie, 330. 

Lacey, Henry, Earl of Lincoln, 

320, 36 In, 362n. 
Lailand hundred, 303. 
Lakenheath, 384. 
Lambert, abbot, 292, 293, 
Lambeth, treaty of, 227. 
Lambspring, 404. 
Lainps in churches, 62. 
Lanfranc, B., 193, 280, 282,322, 

Langton, Cardinal, 222 , 322, 

354, 355. 
Lark and Linnet, 13, 267, 353, 

356, 358, 359, 363, 364, 396. 
Latin tongue, 63. 
Latiniac, monastery of, 12n. 
Lauderdale, Lord, 407. 
Lavatory, the, 362, 398. 
Lavenham, Prior John 361n,369. 
Lawrence, St., 160. 
Lazarus, tomb of, 43. 
Lea, the river, 168, 169. 
Leeds, 16. 
Legend of St. Edmund, pictured, 

and sculptured, 349, 350, 399. 
Leicestershire, 6. 
Le Glas, 326. 
Leland quoted, &c., 15n, 26n, 

27n, 37n, 58n, 89n, 97, 141, 

155n, 159n, 179n, 180n, 184n, 

191, 215n, 355, 365, 391 n. 
Leo, Pope. 31. 
Leo III., Pope, 237. 
Leofric, 155, 274. 
Leofstan the Youth, 37 n, 158, 

159, 282, 338, 380,403. 
Leofstan, abbot, 187, 188, 257, 

258n, 282, 284, 286, 300, 310, 

371, 385n, 389, 395; his shrine, 


Leofstan, LlafTord, 275, 276. 
Leofstan, the monks, 383. 
Lessons for St. Edmund's feasts, 

339, 342. 

Levant, The, 229n. 
Libanus, Mt., 44. 
Liber Albus, 205. 
Liberawin Alsace, 192. 


Liber Ccenobii Sti Edraundi at 
Douai, 83, 97, 103, 106, 146, 
154, 155, 156n, 160, 191. 

Library of St. Edmund's Abbey, 

Libri Feretrariorum, 270, 271. 

Lichfield, 294 

Lincoln, 180, 225, 227, 289. 

Lincolnshire, 6, 7, 110 ; Fens, 36, 

Lindisfarne, 109, 234n. 

Lindsey, 110.' 

Lingard, referred to, &c., 1, 34, 
36n, 50n, oln, 62n, 72, 109, 
llOn, 87n. 

Linnet and Lark see Lark. 

Liturgy of St. Edmund's feast, 

"Lives," &c. , of St. Edmund. 
St. Abbo's, 69, 97, 122, 132, 
141, 146, 154, 158, 270, 315; 
Bodleian, MS.240, 21, 83, 97, 
122, 191, 271, 310; Bodleian, 
Tanner, MS. 15, 21 ; Butler, 
70, 164 ; Capgrave, 21, 316 ; 
Curtey's "Vita Abbreviata, " 
83, 97, 146, 154, 160, 310; 
Cott. Tiber E. 21; Denis 
Piramus, 22, 307, 312, 313, 
314, 316; Gaimar, 314; 
Gaufridus, 21, 34, 83, 310, 

315 ; Harleiau MS. 802. 310 ; 
Harleian MS. 2802, 70; 
Herman, 69, 160, 176, 191, 
255, 270, 315 ; Liber Coenobii 
(Douai), 83, 97, 103, 106, 146, 
154, 155, 156, 160, 191 ; 
Lydgate, 21, 70, 83, 122, 
132, 141, 271, 312, 314, 315, 

316 ; Osbert de Clare, 69, 160, 
199, 255, 270, 271, 315, 316 ; 
Petits Bollandistes, 164 ; 
Pierre de Caseneuve, 83, 97, 
122, 176, 221, 316; " Prolixa I 
Vita," 83, 122, 310; Richard 
of Cirencester, 83, 97, 122, 160, 
316 ; Samson, 160, 255, 271 ; 
Simeon of Durham, 314 ; Ver- 
nacular, 122, 310, 311 ; William 
of Ramsey, 307, 311, 316. 

Llandaff, Broin field bishop of 

Lodbrog Ragnar, 87, 88, 91. 

Lollard heresy, 401. 

London, 3, 99, 177, 232n, 277 
310, 322. 324, 351; St. Ed- 
mund at, 164 et sei : 227, 286, 
381 ; St. Edmund's church at. 
267, 324, 381 ; St. Gregory's 
church at, 164, 170n, 286 ; 
gates of, 169n ; pilgrims from, 

Longman's, William, " Three 
Cathedrals," &c., of St. Paul 

Lostock, Lord, 407. 

Lothaire I., 85. 

Lothbroc or Lothparch, sec 

Lothing, Lake, 104. 

Lothingland, 104. 

Lothparch, or Lothbroc, 83, 97, 
101, 104n, 126. 

Louis, St., K. 136, 224, 253 ; his 
feast, 405. 

Louis, the Dauphin, 230n, 232, 
234, 237, 287 ; (afterwards 
Louis VIII.,) Le Gros, 224, 
225, 226 227, 228n. 

Louis XII., 371n, 388. 

Louis XIV.. 405, 406. 

Lucca, 255, 257, 258, 259, 290, 
310, 349. 

Lucy, St. 237. 

Ludecan, King, 36. 

Lugg, R.,19. 

Lydgate, O.S.B. Dom John, 
'21, 22, 24, 36n, 37n, 49n, 58, 
65n, 70, 72, 79n, 80, 81n, 84n, 
87n, 122, 129n, 132, 134, 141, 
144n, 160, 161n, 164, 168n, 
173, 220n, 234n, 264, 265, 271, 
285, 314, 316, 321, 350, 376n, 
386, 411. 

Lyeveva, 287, 

Lyhert, or Hart, bishop of 
Norwich, 324. 

Lynn, King's, 49n, 85, 102n, 291. 

Mabillou's " Acta SS." 12n, 69, 


McCullock's Geographical Dic- 
tionary, 1. 

Magdeburg, Centuriators of, 141. 
Magdala, 44. 
Magna Charta, 221 to 224, 354, 

"Magnificat," the, 228, 327, 

Maidenboure, or Maidenburie, 

49n, 50, 51, 138. 
Majestas, the, 21 In, 213, 327. 
Malmesbury, William of, see 

Chronicles and Chroniclers. 
Malo, St., 404. 
Mandata, the three, 62. 
Marden, 19. 
Margaret's, St., gate, 365 ; 

church, see Church. 
Maria, Henrietta, 405. 
Marie de France, 313. 
Marshal, the Earl, 222, 227. 



Martene, O.S.B., Dpm "De 

Antiquis Eccl. Kit., 34; 

his " Amplissinia Collectio," 

Martin's, St., Church, see 

Mary, Queen of Louis XII. , 


Mary's, St., church, see Church. 
Mass, the, 60, 63, 66 ; of St. 

Edmund, 328, 330, 346 to 348. 
Matilda, Queen (empress), 168n. 
Matilda, Queen of William I., 

193, 260, 290 ii, 390. 
Matthew of Paris, see Chronicles 

and Chroniclers. 
Matthew of Westminster, see 

Chronicles and Chroniclers. 
Maubray, Lord, 323. 
Melford and Carford Bridges, 

Melford, or Reeve, last Abbot 

of St. Edmund's Bury, 386n, 

401, 376n. 
' ' Memorials of St. Edmund's 

Abbey," 21, 69, 70, 102n, 160, 

270, 279, 349. 
Memorials of St. Edmund, 

Menology of England, and Wales, 

Mercia, kingdom of, 6, 19, 24, 

71, 84, 99, 107, 110, 115, 178, 


Merton church, 349. 
Michael's St., Oxford, 193n. 
Migne's " Patrologia," 58n, 69, 

70, 88n. 
Mildenhall, 389. 

Mint," the, 359, 389, 390. 
Miracles, 153n, 156, 169, 170, 

198, 199, 270 to 306 ; continuity 

of, 285 ; general view of, 27 1 ; 

at Lucca, 258 ; at Lynn, 271, 

291 ; St. Abbo on, 305 ; retros- 
pect of, 273 ; summary of 

284; at WainHete, 271/291. 
Miracles, Books of, 263, 270, 

291, 310. 
" Miracles," Denis Piramus, on 

the 314. 
"Miracles," Lydgate on the, 

" Moines d'Occident," Monta- 

lembert's, lln, 12n, 15n. 
Monastery, the Greater, 360. 
Monastery, the Lesser, 359n. 
" Monasticon," Dugdale's, 228n, 

229n, 231 n, 232, 255, 256, 350, 

352, 39 In. 
Montaigne, Abbot, 406. 

Montalembert's "Moines d'Occi- 
dent," lln, 12n, 15n. 

Monte Cassino, 225, 396. 

Montsorel, 225. 

Moothill, 8. 

Moran's, Cardinal, "Irish Saints 
in Great Britain," 12n. 

Morant's " History, &c., of Bury 
St. Edmund's," 352. 

Mote-horn, 374. 

Mount Olivet, 92, 43. 

Mount Thabor, 1 2. 

Moyes' Hall, 350. 

Muratori, 153n. 

Mutford Broads, and Oulton 

Nails, St. Edmund's, see Relics. 

Nairn, 43. 

Natalis, 293. 

Nazareth, 43. 

Newmarket Heath, 112, 319. 

Nicholas, St., 290, 293, 294, 296, 


Nicholas, St., abbey of, 292. 
Nicholas of Wallingford, see 

Chronicles and Chroniclers. 
Nicostratua and Claudius, SS. 

228, 239, 243, 245, 248, 253. 
Nottingham, 71, 73, 107, 109, 


Nottinghamshire, 6. 
Norman, 215, 260, 295. 
Norman gateway, the, 209, 319, 

394, 363. 
Norfolk, Tourist's Guide to, 

,Norsemen, or Danes, the, 36n, 

86 ; struggle with, 97 to 122. 
Northampton, 197 ; its castle, 

290 ; chapter at, 373 ; St. 

Edmund's church at, 290, 325. 
Northemberg, or North Ham- 
burg, 29, 30, 38, 47. 
Northumbria, 6, 24, 35, 36, 61, 

72, 7S, 84, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 

106, 107, 115, 165, 178, 185n. 
Norwich (Venta Icenorum), 3, 


Oak, St. Edmund's, see Relics. 

Octavian, antipope, 210. 

Odo, 288. 

Offa of East Anglia, 13, 20, 23, 
34, 35, 36, 37 ; his pilgrimage 
to Jerusalem, 37 to 46, 57, 61, 
70, 76, 09 ; his life, 46n, 49n, 

Oft'a of the East Saxons, Ion 
34n, 35, 37n. 



Ofla of Mercia, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25, 
71, 85. 

"Office" of St. Edmund, 32, 
221, 333, 348; Hymns, 329, 
331, 343 to 346 ; lessons, 339, 
342 ; sequence, 347. 

Olave, King, 165, 176. 

Old Saxony, 22, 23, 29, 30, 33, 
37, 38, 39n, 40, 47, 53, So. 

Ordericus Vitalis, see Chronicles 
and Chroniclers. 

Ording, Abbot, 21, 83, 88, 278, 
385n, 396, 397. 

Organs in churches, 62. 

Orwell, R., 7. 

Osbert, 97, 107. 

Osbert de Clare, Prior of West- 
minster, 21, 69, 160, 199, 255, 
263n, 270, 271, 272, 310, 312, 
315, 316. 

Osgod-Clapa, 283, 284. 

Oskitel, 100, 111. 

Osmund, St., 339, 390. 

Oswald, St., K.M., 16, 137, 163n, 

Oswene, 153, 154, 257, 308, 379n. 

Oswy, King, 16. 

Oulton and Mutford Broads, 104. 

Ouse, R., 7, 19. 

Oxford, 5, 177, 310, 311. 

" Palace," the Abbot's, 319, 323, 
358, 359, 362, 396. 

Palgrave's "Antiquities," &c., 

Pancratius, St., 31. 

Papoul, St., 238n, 253, 254. 

"Pardon Bowl," 263. 

Paris, 12n ; St. Edmund's at, 
339, 404, 405, 406, 407, 408, 
409, 410 ; *ec Church. 

' ' Parliamentary Abbeys, " 
Willis', 354n. 

Parret, R., 100. 

" Parthouopeus," the, 313. 

Passion of St. Edmund, 122 ; 
authorities on, 122, 311 ; in 
the vernacular, 311. 

" Past and Present, " see Carlyle. 

Patrimony, liberty or fran- 
chise, St. Edmund's, 2n, 166, 
178, 181, 226, 309, 319, 351, 
352, 374, 375, 381, 390, 398, 
399 ; dissolution of, 401 ; 
modern, 403, 404. 

Paul St. 253. 

Paul, St., the Hermit, 143n. 

Paul's, St., cathedral, 31, 164, 
168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 
174, 224, 369, 401. 

Paulinus, St., of York, 10. 31. 
Penda of Mercia, 14, 16. 
Peronne Abbey, 12n. 
Personality, St. Edmund's, 307. 
Peter, St. ,"253. 
Peter and Paul, SS. , church and 

monastery of, lln, 12n ; feast 

of, 201. 
Peterborough, 97, 111, 193, 368, 

402 ; see Chronicles and 

Peter Pence, 29. 
Petits Bollandistes. 164. 
Philip Augustus, 223, 224. 
Philip, St., Apostle, 238n. 253, 

Phylactery of St. Edmund, 241, 


Picts and Scots, 4. 
Pictures in churches, 62. 
Pierre de Caseneuve, 81, 83, 97, 

104, 122, 124, 221, 228, 229n, 

230n, 235n, 248n. 
Pilgrimages, 37, 40, 287 ; to St. 

Edmund, 223, 233n, 247, 287, 

295, 309, 316, 317, 318, 391 ; 

to Jerusalem, 37, 40 ; to 

Rome, 28, 258, 291, 300; to 

Heglesdune or Hoxne, 324. 
Pilgrims, 85, 291, 293, 317, 328. 
Pilgrims' Doorway, 252. 
Pilgrims' way, 323. 
Pius V., pope, St., 254. 
Plague at Toulouse, 240. 
Polydorus Vergil, see Chronicles 

and Chroniclers. 
Pontifical, St. Egbert's, 34, 63n 


Poppo, St., 178. 
Portsmouth, 5. 
Prcesutagus, 2. 
" Prior's House/' 362. 
Privileges from Rome, 399. 
" Proces Verbal," de Saint- 

Serniu, 229n, 239, 255. 
" Propre," de Saint-Sernin, 58n, 

221, 229n, 339. 
Prndentius, St. , 143. 
Psalter, St. Edmund's, see Relics. 
Purbeck marble, 37n. 

Radulph, or Rauulph, the monk, 
289, 294, 301, 302n, 308. 

Ragnar Lodbrog, 87, 88, 91. 

Ralph, archbishop of Canter- 
bury, 394. 

Ralph, the Ganger, 87. 

Ralph, Flambard, 194. 

Ralph Higden's ' ' Polychro- 
nicon," 176. 

Ralph, the Sacrist, 395. 396. 

Ramsey Abbey, 69, 111, 167 ; 
see Chronicles and Chroniclers. 

Rapin's History, 228, 229n. 

Racclesdene, or Rattlesdene, 

Raymond IV., of Toulouse, 253. 

Raymond VI., 236. 

Raymond, St., of Toulouse, 
23Sn, 254. 

Reading, 147, 303, 304, 305. 

Reafan, or Raven, standard of, 
101, 148. 

Rebaix, 259, 295. 

Redbonrn, 225. 

Redwald, 9, 10, 14, 20. 

Reedham, 90. 

Registers, monastic, 154, 231u, 
247, 262, 282n, 382, 383n. 

Regnhere, 10. 

Reyner, O.S.B., Dom Clement, 

Relic of Holy Cross, 173, 189, 
191, 361n, 402. 

Relics of St. Edmund, 141, 221, 
231n, 248, 255, 268, 402; 
arrows, 267, 268, 269 ; arm, or 
sinew, 232n, 235, 243, 255; 
banner or standard, 102, 134, 
264, 265, 266, 350, 351, 387; 
bones, 256, 257 ; catalogue of, 
243 ; camisia, or camisium, 
127n, 189, 213, 256, 257, 261, 
329 ; coffin, the first, 158, 
268 ; the second, 158, 217, 219, 
220: cups, 213, 263, 264, 268, 
361n; garments, 158, 257, 259. 

261, 268 ; head, 273 ; hair, 
163, 257 ; nails, 154, 231n, 257 ; 
teeth, 127n, 243n, 255 ; oak, 
127, 268, 269, 351 ; psalter, 
33, 53, 54n, 262, 268 ; sword, 

262, 263, 268. 

Relics at St. Edmund's Bury, '. 

213, 231n, 402. 

Relics, chapel of, sec Chapel. 
Relics, feast of the, 251. 
Relics, the stealing of, 225, 

Relics at Toulouse, 230n, 232n, 

253, 254. 

Reliques de Toulouse, verifica- 
tion des, 250. 
Repton, Ion. 

"Retrospective Review," 266n. 
Reeve, or Melford, last abbot of 

St. Edmund's Bury, 386, 401. 
Revolution, French, 250, 251, 


Rhine Provinces. 23. 
Richard of Cirencester, see 

Chronicles and Chroniclers. 

Richard I., Abbot, 361n, 385n. 
Richard I., Coaur-de-lion, 208, 

211, 221, 274, 290, 318, 320, 

361n, 390, 399. 
Richard II., King, 233n. 
Richard of Poictiers, 277, 278. 
Richbert, 10. 
Ritson, 22. 
Riuuier, St., 259. 
Robbers, story of the, 156. 
Robert I., abbot, 370n, 385n, 

Robert II., abbot, 359n, 3Son, 


Robert III., abbot, 386n. 
Robert IV., abbot, 386n. 
Robert of Gloucester, 311. 
Robert of Cnrzun, 277. 
Robert of Gravel, Sacrist, 359n, 

Robert of Hasley, Canon, 271, 

Robert, Abbot of Westminster, 


Rochester, 99. 
Rock's, Dr., "Church of our 

Fathers/' 34. 
Roe, O.S.B., Alban, the martyr, 


Rogation days, 291. 
Roger of Hovedon, see Chroni- 
cles and Chroniclers. 
Roger Bigot, 277, 281. 
Roger of Skering, Bishop of 

Norwich, 196n. 
Roger of Clare, 304. 
Roger of Wendover, see Chroni- 
cles and Chroniclers. 
Rood, the, 213, 328. 
" Rood, Ruby," or "Pity Rood," 

the, 258, 371, 395. 
Roman pontiffs, patronage of, 


Roman chant, 60. 
Rome, St. Cyprian on, 28. 
Rome, pilgrimage to, see Pilgrim- 
Rome, appeals to, 192, 195n, 

Rome, St. Edmund's at, 325, 

and appendix. 
Rome, privileges from, 391, 392, 

393, 399. 

Rome, worship of, 61, 63. 
Rome, St. Peter's at, 252, 254. 
Rufford Abbey, 137, 311. 
Runnymede, 223. 
Rutland, 289. 
Rysby, 323. 
Rye's " Tourist's guide to Nor- 

*folk," 113n. 


Saba, St., 327, 373, 394. 
Salisbury, the Earl of, 224, 226. 
" Salutacions" Ailwin's, 191, 


Samaria, 43. 
Samaritans, 10. 

Samson, Abbot, 279, 318, 302, 
303, 329, 357n, 358n, 360n, 
361n, 364n, 365, 366, 375n, 385n; 
his shrine of St. Edmund, 211, 
214, 215, 220n, 320, 399; his 
translation and verification of 
St. Edmund's body, 191, 205 
to 221, 234n, 263 ;' his person 
and character, 206, 207, 208, 
274 ; his government, 208, 
397, 398 ; his dream, 209, 297 ; 
his devotion to St. Edmund, 
209, 210, 217, 274, 317 ; on the 
" Miracles," 21, 160, 255, 271, 
272, 276n, 277, 283n, 311, 312, 
315, 316. 
Sandwich, 177. 

Sansculottes, the, 409n, 410n. 
Saracens, 23. 
Sarum " lessons," 73. 
Sathonius, 79, 105. 
Saturninus, or Sernin, St., 
basilica of, 236, 238, 240, 252, 
253, sec Sernin St. 
Saturninus or Sernin, St., 236, 


Saviour, St., hospice of, 388, 389. 
Saxo-Grammaticus, 182. 
Saxon kingdoms, formation of, 5. 
Saxony, 22. 
Saxon, Old, 40, 46, 47, 53, 58, 


Saxon shore, the Count of, 3. 
Scandinavia, 86, 97, 147, 176. 
Scadewell, 390. 
Schleswig, 4, 7, 22. 
Schniispel, 377. 
School, Abbot Samson's, 365, 


Sebastian, St., 136, 310. 
Seietha, 199, 201, 261 
Selsea Bill, 5. 
Seomel, 6. 
Sequence, 330. 
Sermons on St. Edmund, 197, 

198, 240, 247, 249. 
Sernin or Satnrninus, St., 
basilica of, 83,221, 228, 230n, 
236, 240, 339, 351 ; abbot of, 
241 ; archives of 239 ; canons 
of 236, 237, 245 ; crypt of 238, 
239, 242, 252, 254 ; inscriptions 
at, 253, 254, " iuventaire de," 
228 ; monographic de 239, 250 ; 
" propre de," 5Sn, 221, 237. 

Sernin or Saturninus, St., see 

Saturninus, St. 
Sethrida, 15n. 
Seville, 228. 
Sexberga, St., 15. 
Sheppey, Isle of, 15n, 99. 
Shimpling, 290. 
Sherbourne, 100. 
Sherburn Prior, 406. 
Shernborne, lln. 
Shipwrecked, protection of, 291 

to 295. 

Shrewsbury, 289. 
Shrine, St." Edmund's, 16n, 166, 
209, 211, 220, 223n, 241, 252, 
256, 272, 274, 279, 286, 287, 
296, 317, 320, 323, 327, 329, 
350, 352, 354, 363, 370, 371, 
375, 378, 381, 399, 402 ; keepers 
of, 155, 157, 159, 176, 178, 185, 
187, 191. 193, 210, 213, 220, 
262, 272, 276, 298, 310, 378 ; 
Barons at, 222, 223 ; at 
Toulouse, 239, 240, 250, 255. 

Sigebert, St., 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 
20, 60, 61, 151, 376, 377. 

Sigentius, 47, 75. 

Sihtric Prior, 21. 

Simon and Jude. SS., 253, 254, 

Simon deLuton, Abbot,385n,400. 

Simon de Montfort, 236. 

Simphorian, &c. SS., 228, 239, 
245, 248. 

Simplex, &c. SS., 245, 248, 253. 

" Sinew " or arm, St. Edmund's, 

Siwara, 26, 27, 28, 30, 46, 48. 

Si ward the priest, 300, 301. 

Soar, R., 6. 

Society Anglia Christiana, lln. 

Soham, 112, 123, 297n. 

Southampton, 293. 

Southwark, 264. 

Southwold, 277, 278, 324, 349. 

Sozomen, 156n. 

Spalding, 289. 

Spelraan's "Hist, of Sacrilege," 
158, 403. 

Sparawech, 202. 

Speed, 90n, 97, I04n. 

Spiridion, 156n. 

Stafford, Mr. Francis, 407. 

Stafford, Viscount, 407. 

Standard, St. Cuthbert's, 267. 

Standard, St. Edmund's, see 

Stanislaus, M. St., 144n. 

Staphacres, 367n. 

Stapleford, 175, 286 ; the lord of, 
175, 381, 386. 



Stephen, King, 83, 387, 389. 

Stephen, St., 136, 237. 

Stillingfleet, 30n. 

Stone Way, 3. 

Stour, R., 1, 7, 58. 

Stowe's "Annals," 164, 278, 388. 

Stratford-le-Bow, 168. 

Strensall, 109. 

Strickland's, Agnes, "Hist, of 

Queen Ann," 408n, 409n. 
Stuarts, the, 407, 410. 
Sucklings "Antiquities, &c. of 

Essex," 351n. 

Sudbury, 58, 68, 70, 72, 85, 100. 
Sueves, 238. 

Suffolk, the Earl of, 323. 
Suneman, 161n, 162. 
Surius, 69, 310. 
Susanna, St., of Babylon, 238n. 


Sutton, Wallis, 23. 
Sweyn, King, 134, 165, 166, 176, 

177, 186, 264, 275, 285, 350, 

382 ; his tragic death, 178 to 


Swineshead, 290. 
Swithun, St., 100. 
Sword, St. Edmund's, see Relics. 
Sylvus, St., 236, 238, 253. 

" Tablet," the, 318n, 319n, 329n. 


Talbot, Prior, 361, 396. 
Tanner's " Biblioth. Britan."21. 
Taw, R., 148. 
" Te Deum," 287, 288, 301. 
Tees R., 6. 
Teresa, St., 234n. 
Teutonic race, 4. 
Tewkesbury, 325, 350. 
Thabor, Mt., 12,43, 44. 
Thames, R. 5, 36, 99, 177, 223, 


Thanet, Isle of, 99. 
Theodore, abbot of Croyland, 

Theodore, St., of Canterbury, 

17, 18n, 62. 
Theodosius 136. 
Theodred I., bishop of Elmham, 

146, 148u, 150, 153, 154, 273, 

274, 380. 
Theodred II., the Good, 148n, 

153, 154, 155, 156, 159, 160, 

175, 268, 380, 385. 
Thetford (Sitomagus), 3, 21, 85, j 

113, 119, 141, 184, 268, 280, ! 

281 ; council of, 17. 
Thetford, History of, 17n, 97, 

103n, 104. 
" The prosperous year," 100. 

Thinghogo, 275. 

Thoke lln. 

Thomas I., of Tottynton, abbot, 

Thomas II., Draughton, abbot, 

385n, 400. 

Thomas III., abbot, 386n. 
Thomas Aquinas, St. , 253, 254. 
Thomas a Becket, St., 206, 217n, 
277, 296, 318, 322, 327, 370, 
Thomas, bishop of East Anglia, 

Thomas, archbishop of York 


Thor, 17. 
Thorney, 111. 
Thova, 37n. 
Thrales, the, 410. 
Thurcytel, 184. 
Thurk'etul, 380. 
Thurstan or Turston, the Little, 

Thurstan the Sacrist, 194, 197, 


Tiberias, 44. 

Tichborne, Sir Henry, 407. 
Titus Gates, 407. 
Tolinus the Sacrist, 194, 197, 

261, 283, 286, 301, 386. 
Tomb, St. Edmund's at Tou- 
louse, 228, 239, 240, 242, 243, 
250, 255. 

Tombert, Earl, 15n. 
Tottingham or Tottynton, 205, 

209, 397. 

Toulouse, 83, 221, 224, 228, 
230n, 232n, 235n, 236, 240, 241, 
243, 245, 249, 252, 253, 254, 

Toulouse, History of, 228, 230n. 
Tours, council of, 
Tower, the Norman, 209, 319, 

363, 394. 
Tradition, the French, 221, 


Translations of St. Edmund's 

Body, 141 ; (1) 146, 149, 153, 

154; (2) 164,381; (3) 172; (4) 

176 ; (5) 191 to 199 ; (6) 205 to 

216 ; (7) 221 to 227 ; (8) 228 to 

238 ; (9) 239 ; (10) 240 to 250. 

Translation, feasts of, 201, 330. 

Translation, lesson for feast of 


Trent, R. 6. 

Trinity, The Holy, 133, 136. 
Turchil 166, 167, 172, 185, 383. 
Turold of Lincoln, 281. 
Turstan, Brother, 190n. 
Tuthill, 120. 



Tyne, R., 107. 
Tynemouth Priory, 109. 
Tymn's, "Handbook of Bury 
St. Edmund's," 365n, 371n. 

Uffa of East Anglia, 9, 20. 

Uffings, 9, 38 ; their character, 

Ufketul, Earldorman, 112, 113. 

Ulkmund or Alcmund, 26n. 

Ultan, 12n. 

Urban II., Pope, 236, 237, 253. 

Uvius, first abbot of St. Ed- 
mund's Bury, 185, 383, 3S5n. 

Vandals, 238. 

Venice, 30, 40. 

Vestry of St. Edmund's Abbey, 


Viaticum, 45, 203, 300. 
Vienna, 69, 310. 
Villa Faustina or Faustini, 3, 


Vincent, St., of Saragossa, 144n. 
Vineyard, the, 356, 359, 398. 
Verulam, 3. 
Visigoths, 238. 
Visions of St. Edmund, sec St. 

"Vita Abbreviata," the, 83, 97, 

154, 156n. 
Volto Santo, the, 258, 371, 395. 

Wainflete Register, 285, 291. 
Wakelin, Bishop of Winchester, 

194, 195, 198, 247. 
Walmesley, O.S. B., Bishop, 


Walnut-Tree Yard, 359. 
Walter de Banham, Prior, 362n, 

350, 398. 

Walter of Diss, 360n. 
Walter the Physician, 216, 398. 
Waltham, 283n. 
Warkton or Wereketon, 193, 

290, 390. 

Warner, Abbot, 259, 260, 295. 
Warwick, the Earl of, 319, 321. 
Wash, the, 2, 3, 224. 
Waveney, R., 7, 12, 90n, 104, 

114, 126. 

Wearmouth, 61, 109. 
Weever's "Funeral Monu- 
ments," 128n, 255, 375. 
Weldon, O.S.B., Dom Benet, 

404, 405. 
Wells or Springs, St. Edmund's, 

49, 50, 51, 285, 349. 
Werberga, St., 15, 17, 234. 
Wereketon or Warkton, 193, 

290, 390. 

W'eremund, Bishop of Dunwich, 

55n, 148n. 

Wern or Bern, 8811, 92, 93. 
Weser, 4. 

Westminster, 378, 404, 408, 409n. 
Wharton's "Hist. Epis. Lond.," 


Whepstead, 381. 
Whethamstede, Abbot, 22. 
Whitby, 15, 109. 
Wibert, lOn. 
Wight, Isle of, 5. 
Wilfrid's, St., bible, 62. 
Wilgena, 28. 
William I., of Bernham, abbot, 

William II., Cratfield, abbot, 

William III., Excetre, abbot, 

83, 385n. 
William IV., Curteys, abbot, see 

William V., Babynton, abbot, 

386n, 401. 
William VI., Codenham, abbot, 

3S6n, 401. 
William VII., Buntinge, abbot, 

William I., the Conqueror, 192, 

193, 194, 195n, 260, 276, 386, 

387, 390. 

William de Curzun, 277, 296. 
William of Diss, 216. 
William of Hengham, 262, 263. 
William of Malmesbnry, see 

Chronicle and Chroniclers. 
William, Prior, 202. 
William of Ramsey, 316, 347. 
William of Rokeland, Prior, 

361n, 367. 
William II., Rufus,, 194, 277, 

286, 387, 390. 

William of Worcester, 352. 
Willibrord, St., 22. 
Wilred, Bishop in East Anglia, 

55n, 148, 150, 377. 
Willy, R., 36. 
Winibert, 19. 
AVinchelsey, Archbishop of 

Canterbury, 388. 
Winchester, 78, 177. 
Windsor, 192, 221. 
Winfarthing Church, 350n. 
Winifride, St., V.M., 153n. 
Winifride's well, St., 51. 
Winwoed, 16. 
Wisbeach, 2, 161. 
Witenagemote, 56. 
Witikind, 23. 

Withberga, St., 15n, 16, 20. 
Wodecroft, Dom John, 369. 



Woden, 17. 

Wolf, St. Edmund's, history of, 

142, 144n. 
Wolf ric, 161, 162. 
Wolsey, Cardinal, 401n. 
Woolpit, 210. 
Worcester College, 402n. 
Worlingworth, 371. 
Wulmar, 300. 
Wulphere of Mercia, 17. 
Wulstan, St., 390. 

Yare, K., 7, 12, 80. 

Yarmouth, 7, 85, 184. 

Yates' " Illustration &c. , of St. 

Edmunds-Bury," referred to&c. 
58, 70, 166n, 221, 229n, 233n, 
262n, 318n, 322n, 349, 350, 
352, 359, 363n, 372n, 373, 375, 
386n, 402n, 

York, 3, 6, 107, 109, 363, 

Zealand, 4. 
Zita, St., 234n. 

: ..